18 November 2022

Seventy years since the Santa Gertrudis breed arrived in Australia, NIOA Pastoral Co. says its national sale-topper bull will take the Allora stud’s genetics to the next level.

Yarrawonga S316 has arrived at his new home in time for the tail end of the spring breeding season – and with a new moniker “Yarrawonga Spartacus”.

NIOA paid an Australian breed record price of $250,000 for Spartacus at the Wallumbilla stud’s hugely successful September sale.

NIOA’s breed program strategic partner RL Pastoral purchased a semen share while Yarrawonga Santa Gertrudis retained a semen share.

Spartacus weighed 868kg at sale and scanned 15mm on the rump, 11mm on the rib and had a raw eye muscle of 137sqcm.

NIOA Santa Gertrudis general manager Shannon Gardner described the 24-month-old polled grandson of 2014 Ekka Grand Champion Yarrawonga Corvette as the “jewel in the crown”.

He joins a powerful sire battery at NIOA which includes previous Australian Santa breed sale topper Riverina Roland Sanchez, Sydney Royal Easter Show grand champions NIOA Marksman (2018) and NIOA Qantas (2021) and 2015 Brisbane Ekka breed champion Wave Hill Jager.

“Since we purchased Wave Hill Jager in 2015 we have been looking for a sire to make an impact on our breeding herd and strengthen the genetic pool of the stud,” Mr Gardner said.

“This is the first time Yarrawonga bloodlines have been used in our breeding program and he’s gone straight to work – we’ve put some of our best cows with him.”

It’s been a spectacular start for the NIOA and RL Pastoral strategic partnership which was formed earlier this year when Riverina Santa Gertrudis studmaster Rob Sinnamon teamed up with the Nioa family after two decades at Yulgilbar.

Three-year-old prize heifer NIOA Lucy was snapped up by an interstate breeder for $50,000 on the eve of the Brisbane Ekka in August while NIOA and RL Pastoral christened their first combined sale by clearing more than $800,000 worth of cattle for an average of $16,687, including Roland Sanchez and NIOA Ronaldo who fetched a stud record price of $55,000.

The burgeoning NIOA breeding program has prompted the stud to expand its footprint in the Allora district with the purchase of the neighbouring 146ha “Valley View”.

“This will help expand our carrying capacity and increase the herd while boosting our grain operation which underpins the breeding program,” Mr Gardner said.

The Allora-Warwick area on Queensland’s Southern Downs is synonymous with the Santa Gertrudis breed in Australia.

The legendary King Ranch, Texas, USA set up its Australian headquarters at “Risdon” Warwick in 1952 where the first sale of imported American bulls was held on November 14 that year.

The story was so big it made the front page of the Courier-Mail newspaper the next day.

The paper reported that 1200 people attended the auction with the top-priced bull fetching 1500 guineas to FG Schmidt of “Avondale”, Cunnamulla.

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Record-priced Yarrawonga Spartacus in his new home at NIOA Santa Gertrudis where he has been put to work in the Allora stud’s breeding program.

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The Courier-Mail front page of November 15, 1952 marking the first sale of Santa cattle in Australia at Warwick where the top bull fetched 1500 guineas.

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