RECENTLY I was given some livestock papers from 1977-1978, detailing news from November through to March.
It was very interesting reading, and it brought back memories of my old Newmarket saleyard days.
The time period is a time following the devastating drought that saw many producers loose many dollars, and some not recovering from that period.
Above is the recent photo from the Thorpdale lamb sale, held twice in December, each year.
Selling to $180, they averaged $158, and from the quotes printed from the same period in 1977.
The lambs at Thorpdale would average close to 22kgs cwt, and in December 1977, exactly 50 years on, 18kg lambs at Newmarket averaged $16.03.
Given that livestock markets were in full recovery mode in late 1977, it is fair to say that prime bullocks sold for only around $75 during the drought.
Direct comparisons can be made for quality and weight, but fortunately low prices of 2017 are much, much higher.
A good pen of bullocks this week, 772kgs by 276c/kg, equaled $2130, at Pakenham.
Something of note was the number of rural markets reported, which included the now defunct, Terang, Geelong, Croydon, where i cut my teeth, and Mernda, which is now a suburb of Melbourne.
I also found interesting how papers have changed, where in 1977, there was a big focus on horses, fishing, and information days.
Also of note in 1977 and 1988, was the sheer number of properties advertised for sale. Of course their prices were equally as interesting.
A 2.4 hectare (six acres) property with three bedroom house, at Shepparton, for sale at $62k, just imagine what that is worth today.
Looking for properties in Gippsland, I saw a 42ha farm between Warragul and Neerim South, prime farming land, with 4 bedroom home and all shedding, for $55k.
That equals $1309ha, and today would fetch in excessive of $23,000ha.
My how things have changed. By comparison, wages have gone from and average of around $150 to $1500 in that time.
Interesting to see that some things haven’t changed though. A couple of the lead stories of November 1977 were, “Market reform a major issue”, and “New move on dairy fiasco”. Sound familiar?
Here is something that has changed. November 1977, “The Australian sheep flock has dropped to its lowest level since 1956, now sitting at 136 million”!