Monaro producers are preempting a colder than usual winter with the possibility of having little grass, and divesting themselves of cattle.
This led to a swelling of numbers at Wodonga’s Barnawartha store sale last Thursday.
Agents advertised 2500 head, but by Thursday, 3100 head were penned.
This total included 1608 steers, 1312 heifers, 99 cows and calves, and 82 joined females.
Kevin Corcoran, Corcoran Parker, Stephen Street, Elders, and Pat Kindellan, Landmark, all said this sale could be considered dearer than a month ago, especially in the heifer section of the market.
While there was strong local competition with the forecast of rain for the next day, a buyer from Mt Gambier, SA, purchased lighter weight steers to background for later grain feeding.
Buyers of feeder steers and heifers were noted, although the supply of suitable cattle was limited.
Yearling steers were not plentiful, which kept demand on an even keel.
This saw steers weighing 350-420 kilograms sell from $1015-$1100 per head, or equal 275-290 cents per kilogram liveweight.
The sale soon turned to good quality younger steers.
Willowwong, Tallangatta, sold 15 Charolais steers, 354kg, for $1065, and all the way from Ensay, GT Farmer sold 41 Hereford & Angus-Hereford steers from $1005-$1025.
Simmental steers of T Peacock, Myrtleford, 340kg, sold for $1020, and JW Donovan, Burrumbuttock, sold 24 Angus steers, 349kg, which made $1015.
Due to the dry season, a lack of grass, and in some places, water, many of the steers were sold earlier than usual, and most were of lighter weights.
Steers weighing 210-320kg were common throughout the market, but producers willing to test the winter months gave strong support here.
Steers over 300kg sold mostly from $940-$1025, including N&C Blacker, who sold 23 Angus steers for $970, and T Blacker, who sold 21 Angus steers for $935.
A good example of the strength of demand for younger steers can be shown in the sale of 230 Angus steers from Fairfield Park, Greta.
Sold in three drafts of 51, 95, and 84 head, 212-268kg, these steers sold to local and South Australian buyers from $700-$825.
A larger percentage of the yarding than usual were heifers, and included some very good quality yearlings, down to younger and lighter weight calves.
The tops of these made between $890-$1070, but most of the heifers weighed 200-285kg.
Tarabah Livestock, Holbrook, sold 81 Hereford heifers, EU accredited, from $620-$795, and T&C Glass, Allans Flat, sold 24 Angus heifers for $755.
These heifers would normally be kept for joining, but the dry conditions meant they had to be sold.
The young heifers of Fairfield Park, Greta, the sisters to the steers sold earlier, weighed between 206-219kg, and sold from $557-$610.
F O’Neil sold 38 Angus heifers from $530-$580. Some of these younger heifers almost equaled 300c/kg lwt.
Emphasising the need to sell off female cattle can be best described by the turn off of 99 cows and calves, and 82 joined females.
Coming from Bombala were 22 Angus and Speckle Park cows with calves at foot, of Corella Past Co. These sold from $1220-$1810.
Cashmore Past Co, also from Bombala, sold 10 Angus cows and calves for $1510.
Also off the Monaro were 67 Angus cows PTIC to calve July-August, of M&M Lees, that sold form $990-$1220.
From Nimmitabel, Kydra Past Co, offered 48 cows and heifers, 2.5 years to 6 years, PTIC to calve August-September. These made form $840-$1080, and like most, only achieved their fat value.
From Moulamein, CT Arthur offered 15 Angus heifers, PTIC to have their second calf in the spring. These sold from $860-$900.
Many producers are staring down the barrel of a cold and bleak winter, and considering their options.