NORTHERN buyers continued to be the backbone of the Victorian weaner sales with their appearance at Colac weaner steer sale on Monday pushing prices to $1290 per head.
While the 1950 head yarding was back by about 500 head on last year due to tough spring conditions throughout, local backgrounders still challenged three major northern buyers at most pens.
Heavy steers from 370 to 400 kilograms realised 310 to 315 cents per kilogram, with some isolated pens up to 320c/kg.
Slightly lighter steers from 300-350kg made 325-335c/kg due to solid demand from Tony Schutt, Brisbane, Queensland buying 207 head on behalf of Elders, Toowoomba, Qld and Matt Larkings, who booked 361 head back to Landmark, Molong, NSW. Agents estimated some of the lighter, unweighed calves exceeded 350c/kg.
“The results were very satisfying - it certainly didn’t break any records but we were very happy with the outcome (of the sale),” Charles Stewart and Co director Jamie McConachy said.
“We only had a few outsiders being the northern buyers, but they were capable of buying several hundred cattle themselves and bid right the way through the day which made it a very, very good sale.”
After a 12 year hiatus at the Victorian weaner sales, Mr Schutt returned to Colac to fill orders for west Darling Downs backgrounders who are enjoying good seasonal conditions.
“Cattle numbers in the north are short so we have to go further (to secure numbers),” he said.
“With the extra freight it is still on par with where we expect the market to open (in Queensland) this week.”
Last week, buyers on behalf of Landmark, Molong, were securing numbers for a major, Russian-bound live export order for March, acquiring more than 2000 head throughout the week. Mr Larkings did not confirm whether this consignment was for the live export order.
He said the prices of the heavy cattle he selected were softer than Yea’s weaner sale on Friday, while the medium run of steers were competitively chased.
Hopkins River Beef, Dunkeld was active on the heavy black cattle, winning bids on 147 head, for an average $1150.
Colin Say & Co director Shad Bailey, Glen Innes, NSW continued his action at the sales series, acquiring 241 head of mixed weight and breeds to a top price of $1045, for an av $903.
Simon and Yvonne Arundell, Wardor Run, Bungador, offered a quality run of 140 heavy predominantly Angus steers, February/March drop, Rossander and Murdeduke blood, which sold to $1235 for a pen of Black Baldy steers, and av $1150.
The dry conditions in the region resulted in an early offload of stock for some producers at the break of summer, including Lariggan’s Will and Wendy Dennis, Warncoort, who sold a contracted 66 Angus to $1170, paid by Hopkins River, for an av $1124.
Water and feed shortages also pushed some of John Osbourne’s cattle on the market early, with the Warncoort producer opting to sell steers at the November and December sales for $900 and $1000 per head, respectively.
This week, the Osbourne brothers sold 40 steers to a top of $1190, for an av $1166.
In the Hereford section, Peter and Alison McDonald, Moonmoote, Birregurra sold 89 steers which topped at $1020, for an av $921. Last year, the McDonald’s sold 72 head to av $780.
Charles Stewart Dove livestock manager Phil Douglas, Colac, said the sale was a reflection of eastern Australia’s differing season.
“(Landmark’s Terry Ginnane) South Gippsland couldn’t fire a shot due to no water and no feed in their region,” Mr Douglas said.
“On the other hand NSW and Queensland, who recently experienced the greatest drought in history, were the strength, especially in the lighter end because their change in fortunes has enabled them to operate.
“As little as six weeks ago the north hadn’t had the rain all season and the whole country was weary of the impact that would have on the market but we were still having good prices and now they’ve really stepped up to the plate.”
Other notable buyers included Teys’ Nathan Burey, Longreach, who purchased 48 steers, bound for Jindalee, and HF Richardson Alistair Nelson who purchased 200 steers he reported at an av 315c/kg.