A SMALL but combative crowd attended to Independent Agents store cattle sale at Wodonga last Thursday.
Competition came from many quarters with feedlot companies more active, and other buyers coming from Gippsland and many of the surrounding local districts.
A positive trend was seen for most of the cattle sold in a yarding that offered some larger lines of well-bred cattle. Because the season has been so harsh, it was understandable that the quality was very mixed and included a number of plainer condition cattle. There were also a few cattle of poorer breeding penned in all sections of the sale.
The very dry conditions has caused some producers to sell with feed options very limited, while some young steers and heifers were sold earlier than usual for similar reasons.
Several drafts of yearling steers were penned, but the heaviest weighed only 472 kilograms liveweight. Demand for these steers was steady, and prices were similar to recent sales with most making between $620 and $790. This equated to a liveweight range of 167c to 183c/kg lwt. Most of these steers were 12 months to 16mths of age. BE&JM Lewis, Willow Glen, Tatong, sold 44 Angus steers, 12mth to 14mth for $700 and $738, or 173cents per kilogram lwt.
Strong feedlot competition aided a better sale for the numerous pens of mostly Angus steers that were either younger or of lighter weight. Sundown Feedlot, who have not purchased at Wodonga for a long time, bought three trucks of steers, which is a good indication that northern feedlots are running short of supply. Other feedlots were active and purchasing steers and heifers.
Steers ranging in weight between 320kg and 390kg lwt sold from $580 to $712 with the liveweight prices from 178c to 193c/kg. As the steers offered got lighter in weight, competition improved further and many sales were noted between $470 and $570, or 182c to 200c/kg lwt.
This more confident flowed through the balance of the sale. Ziller Pastoral Co, Koetong, sold 195 Angus steers 5-6mth, only because feed is no longer existent. They would normally sell these cattle at the autumn weaner sales. The steers weighed from an estimated 165kg to a weighed figure of 248kg lwt, and sold between $395 and $540 for an average of $485. Some of these equalled 224c/kg lwt.
Young heifers also sold to stronger demand and higher prices. Lighter weight heifers (up to 390kg lwt) sold between $420 and $580, a far better result than most January sales across the State. DTS&E Phillips, Cunningham Plains, Harden, sold 80 Angus heifers, 8-10mth, Hazeldean and Onslow blood, from $486 to $580, av $520.
One producer was overheard to say that he had not sold a pen of Angus heifers in January, and was guessing whether he had made the right decision. However, they made $490 at this sale, which was $150 dearer than his passed in price only four weeks ago.
The sale opened with a stud Limousin herd dispersal of 52 joined cows and heifers, 17 weaned heifers, 17 bull calves and 4 bulls. These cattle were very well bred and presented in very good condition. Buyers selected through the joined cows and heifers paying to $1100 for cows and $1200 for heifers. These females were on the point of calving and for the right buyer it was a good outcome from $875 to the top price.
The heifer calves sold from $580 to $600, and the bull calves made to $600 too. The four 2011 drop bulls sold to $1300.
PW&CP Beggs, Mitta Mitta, sold three pens of good quality Angus cows and calves with 3-5mth calves at foot by The Grange bloodlines. These 28 outfits sold to $1180, av $1096. These cows sold well because of their breeding and quality, while most other cows and calves were of very mixed age and quality selling from $615 to $800.
AT&G Dingle, Yarraweyah, sold Charolais crossbred heifers on the point of calving to Red Angus bulls. They sold from $810 to $860. Merton Park, Merton, offered 39 Angus heifers PTIC to Shorthorn and White Shorthorn bulls from $630 to $700.
All in all, the result was stronger with only a few expectations, which shows good promise for the up-coming autumn sales.