PRICES might have again been close to record territory at the Warrnambool August store cattle sale on Friday but Nirranda cattle producer Robert Morey wasn’t getting carried away.
Mr Morey said the current cattle prices were the best he has seen in his 50 years as a beef and dairy producer but he was happy to be a seller rather than a buyer at Friday’s sale.
“I do not buy dear cattle, the risk is too great,” Mr Morey said.
While prices reached $3.86 a kilogram for steers on Friday, close to the record in the high $3.90s reached at Warrnambool in recent months, Mr Morey said he was not buying because the prices could drop significantly in 12 months.
Instead of replenishing his herd with store cattle, Mr Morey puts Angus and Limousin bulls over his dairy cows and and grows out the Friesian bull calves for the prime beef market.
He fetched an average of about $1400 for the Friesian and Blonde De Aquitaine cattle he sold at the Warrnambool prime cattle sale a few weeks ago and was very happy with that price.
At Friday’s sale, he gained 321c/kg, or about $1275 each, for the nine Angus/Friesian steers he offered which he said was “very satisfactory.”
In less buoyant years, he would have fetched that price for steers that were two years old, or about seven months older than those he offered on Friday.
Heifers fetched up to $3.61/kg at the sale at which about 1460 cattle were offered.
In the cows and calves, Yanarrie gained $2100 each for 11 Angus/Friesian cows with Limousin calves at foot. Other cow and calf pairs fetched between $1000-$1200.
Unweighed steers made between $700-$1000 and unweighed heifers between $650-$1000.
While Mr Morey is cautious about how long the cattle boom will continue, he expects it will run for some time because of the national shortage of cattle.
“You cannot breed them overnight,” Mr Morey said.
The top price of $3.86/kg on Friday went to Rosverland of Orford for 22 Angus steers with an average weight of 341kgs. Heifers fetched up to $3.61/kg at the sale at which about 1460 cattle were offered.
In the cows and calves, Yanarrie gained $2100 each for 11 Angus/Friesian cows with Limousin calves at foot. Other cow and calf pairs fetched between $1000-$1200. Unweighed steers made between $700-$1000 and unweighed heifers between $650-$1000.
Saffin Kerr Bowen Rodwells Warrnambool livestock manager Glenn Judd said the prices for steers and heifers were on par with those reached at last month’s Warrnambool store sale.
“The lighter steers were firm to dearer and bigger steers firm,” Mr Judd said.
Warrnambool Stock Agents Association secretary Anthony Mahony said demand was split evenly between local buyers and those from outside the south-west.
Buyers came from South Australia and the Casterton area and feedlotters such as Teys Bros and Hopkins River Beef were active, he said.