Young Killarney auctioneer one of the best in the country
KILLARNEY'S Ben McMahon grew up watching his father Pat buy and sell livestock through the Warwick Saleyards and he decided early on that he wanted a career as a stock agent.
He taught himself to count and call an auction, then four years ago he set off to Inverell to make a name for himself.
All that hard work paid off when he placed third in the ALPA Annual NSW State Young Auctioneer Competition on Friday.
The competition, held during the Sydney Royal Easter Show, is one of the most prestigious auctioneering events in the Australia.
"You start by teaching yourself to count,” MrMcMahon said.
"If you can count 1-100 in singles, then doubles, threes, fives and sevens, then the rest is easy.
"Once you can count fast and every number is clear, you add a little something in between.”
Mr McMahon said he was chuffed with the result as it was the first time he had entered a competition of that size.
"It was all good,” he said
"I have just done a couple of little, local competitions, like at Tenterfield Show.”
The ALPA event required entrants to auction a pen of three beasts from the lead steer competition.
It is a real auction for real money, with buyers looking to purchase the best cattle in the country.
But the ALPA competition required more than a sharp tongue.
Mr McMahon needed a strong knowledge of the breeding and physical qualities of the cattle he sold, pointing out their sires, fat percentage and muscle coverage.
"You are selling as if they are stud stock,” MrMcMahon said.
Most importantly, the entrants had to know what the animals would sell for.
"If you get up and say a beast is worth $3.80/kg and it sells for $3.75/kg, well that is top marks,” MrMcMahon said.
"It means you are on the money and you know the market.”
This estimation is the true test of an agent's skill. It takes into account all the research and market knowledge needed before they can stand up on the catwalk and sell with confidence.
It also tests their understanding of the buyers' limits.
"As far as the job goes, auctioning is only a tenth of what we do,” MrMcMahon said.
"It takes a lot more to know your markets and where cattle are going.”