I WOULD have found it hard to believe if I had not seen it with my own eyes.
I am talking about the extreme prices for dairy cows sold at Shepparton prime cattle market on Tuesday.
It was fairly obvious that one processor was short of a kill, leading the way throughout the yarding of 790 cows.
I have been in this industry a long time and I have never seen dairy cows make such money.
However, to appreciate this it was pertinent to work out their carcase weight price.
Selling mostly between 180 and 235 cents per kilogram live weight, carcase weight prices ranged from 485-515c/kg.
Many buyers were scratching their heads wondering when the momentum would stop.
Most Victorian markets offered fewer cattle after the predicted "Antarctic Vortex" for that weekend.
Supply at Pakenham fell below 1000 head and prices were solid to dearer.
Agents at Wagga Wagga, NSW, drew for 4600 head last Friday, but only offered 3600 after the poor weekend conditions. This market was also dearer. The general trend was of dearer prices all round, when studying the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) market reports, however, one needs to be careful of continuing higher quotes – as many price averages are higher because of some very good cattle coming onto the market.
The Shepparton market was a prime example of this, with many pens of grain assisted cattle being offered.
This resulted in younger trade weight steers and heifers selling from 290-325c/kg lwt.
At Pakenham last Monday, there were a few pens of very good quality bullocks penned, and these sold to a top of 329c/kg for steers weighing 570kg, and heavy bullocks made 320c/kg.
The dearer Shepparton market saw 500-600kg steers sell from 290-317c/kg and considering their condition, this was a very good result.
Many of the markets offered plainer condition steers and heifers, some of them being unfinished vealers.
These younger calves sold to 348c /kg with most selling from 290-325c/kg, and yearling steers sold to similar prices.
Heifers purchased for grain feeding sold mostly made 265-305c/kg lwt.
The remarkable increase in cow prices was seen across most markets, and although much of the pressure was on lean cows best suiting the US, 90CL grinding beef market, better quality beef cows sold to as much as 265c, although the majority of sales were from 230-258c/kg.
Strong competition between singular-owned butcher shops, again saw the best quality vealers sell to 338c/kg at three main markets of Warragul, Wangaratta and Barnawartha.
The EYCI price reached 538.25c/kg Monday evening, which was a massive 202.75c/kg higher year-on-year.
Marry this up to an average carcase weight of 250kg, and these indicator cattle are more than $500 higher than this time in 2014.
Victorian supply saw a small percentage of the cattle factoring into the EYCI price, in comparison to Queensland, and it was interesting to note the northern sales of Shepparton and Swan Hill have filled many of the notable lines.
These two markets, along with Barnawartha, have offered good supplies of grain assisted cattle filling the EYCI criteria.
It was very interesting when comparing prices in Victoria against those in Queensland reports. Feedlots and restockers are paying similar prices for their steers and heifers, but bullocks are only making to 270c/kg.