Rita Draws Buyers from Coast to Coast

11/9/2013 7:00 AM
By Shannon Sollinger Virginia Correspondent

BERRYVILLE, Va. — Rita 5F56 wasn’t for sale, but she headlined the Oct. 26 Northern Virginia Angus Association, or NVAA, Fall Female Classic and On-Stage Steer Sale in Berryville, Va. The Gumm family’s Woodside Farms, hosting the sale for the second year in a row, consigned 14 lots in all, including the top six sellers — all daughters or granddaughters of the 5F56 cow.

A little more than a year ago, Trey Gumm offered a sale-topping $62,500 at the Wehrmann Angus dispersal to bring 5F56 back to Woodside. She has more than paid for herself.

She topped last year’s sale as well, with a six-egg flush going for $15,500 to 44 Farms in Cameron, Texas.

The Texas farm also hosted a sale on Oct. 26 and several Texas buyers ducked out to bid by phone on lots at the Northern Virginia sale. Vintage Angus of Modesto, Calif., Hillhouse Angus of LaGrange, Texas, and Audley Farms of Berryville, Va., were active in both sales.

Doug Worthington, general manager at Vintage Angus, spent $45,000 — top price at the NVAA sale — for the first lot in the ring, a month-old daughter of 5F56, sired by AAR Ten X 7008 SA. He also spent $50,000 at the 44 Farms sale on the second-highest selling open heifer, a granddaughter of 5F56.

Worthington said he liked 5F56 “for her breeding, her pedigree and genetic profile. She ranks high in all the important categories — carcass, birth weight, growth and dollar values.”

Both heifers will join the Vintage herd of 400 spring calving cows and 75 fall calving cows.

The American Angus Association ranks 5F56 first in the breed in beef value, or $B — an index used to predict the money-making potential of a particular animal — second in rib eye and 21st for carcass weight.

Genex sire, Rito 9M25, a son of 5F56, was popular at both sales — Vintage Angus lists him as a “great carcass bull.” Genex also lists him as a carrier of the developmental duplication gene, or DD. His full sister, Rita OM3, the Woodside second-generation donor cow, is free of the gene. Both are sired by GAR Predestined, a carrier of the DD gene. Rita 5F56 has been tested and does not carry the gene.

Lot 1B was listed in the catalog as a heifer pregnancy, sired by EXAR Upshot 0562B from an egg donated by 5F56. But she arrived just in time to appear in the flesh at the sale. Spruce Mountain Ranch of Larkspur, Colo., offered $32,000 for the diminutive heifer.

A confirmed heifer pregnancy, also from an 5F56 egg, went for $24,000 to Bobo Angus in Ardmore, Ala.

Finishing out the top of the order, Hillhouse Angus bid $8,000 and $11,000 for lots 2A and 2B, both granddaughters of 5F56, and both due in March 2014. Dam of both lots is Rita OM3, the daughter of 5F56, who is taking her place in the Woodside donor program.

Dr. M.B. Rad of Amsterdam, N.Y., who led buyers to get a Leachmann Saugahatchee daughter at the recent Whitestone Farm sale, was back for more, including a month-old heifer by Rito 9M25; a frozen semen tank that includes straws of seven noted sires including one straw of Leachmann Saugahatchee semen; four lots of frozen embryos; and finally, $5,250 for a guaranteed six-egg flush to a bull of his choice from Frey’s HF Ark Pride M35-S45, consigned by Bethaney Johnson’s Harvester Farm in Nokesville.

The NVAA sale has been gaining in stature and prices in the last several years. In 2010, 39 lots brought $78,787 — an average of $2,020. In 2012, after no sale in 2011, 52 lots brought $133,600 — an average of $3,073. This year, 57 lots went through the ring for $279,297 — an average of $4,899 per lot.

Starting last year, the NVAA combined its Fall Female Classic with its On-Stage Steer Sale — designed to put good prospects for next year’s show circuit on display for juniors. Last year, 20 top show-prospect steers sold for $19,125, an average of $956.25. This year, 13 steers brought $18,200 for a per head average of $1,400.

Trent Riggs of Centreville, Md., offered a sale-topping $2,300 for a son of Plainview Luton out of a Champion Hill Fullback vow, consigned by Samantha Herndon of Berryville.

And Morgan Alexander, who will be off next week to the North American International Livestock Exposition, or NAILE, in Louisville, Ky. — one of five finalists from across the country for the Miss American Angus title — consigned two steers from her family’s Turning Point Angus in Berryville. The Virginia Angus Association gave her a $200 check to defray expenses of the trip, and a group of NVAA cattlemen and women added $800 more.

Emily Velisek, of Gaithersburg, Md., was a finalist last year.

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