Southern demand fires but how long can it last?

The recent flurry of store market buying is being called into question


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Capitalising on a fantastic season, Sam Hill, TDC Penola and George Kidman, Coonawarra, SA, secured Angus heifers at Euroa to join in September.

Capitalising on a fantastic season, Sam Hill, TDC Penola and George Kidman, Coonawarra, SA, secured Angus heifers at Euroa to join in September.

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Back-to-back selling at Mortlake and Ballarat this Thursday-Friday must surely test the renewed demand that has swept store cattle markets in the past week.

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Back-to-back selling at Mortlake and Ballarat this Thursday-Friday must surely test the renewed demand that has swept store cattle markets in the past week.

Focused primarily on well-bred young beef weaners, the renewed buying interest has grown off the back of useful May rain that has stimulated sufficient pasture growth in some of the southern cattle finishing districts spanning southeast South Australia, southwest Victoria and parts of Gippsland.

This renewed buying activity could also have been spawned by the lucky few balancing their ledgers before books close the taxation year on June 30.

Euroa’s end of financial year sale on Wednesday was the first in the crosshairs of this wave of renewed buying excitement. It attracted a busload of inquisitive agents from the greater Hamilton area, multiple cars from Penola, Geelong and Warragul plus the usual support from Pakenham and the Yarra Valley.

Added to this was the regular buying of the Euroa locals, the Shepparton, Benalla and Wangaratta districts plus sporadic interest from Kilmore, Bendigo and Boort. Thrown into this mix was the customary commission buyer orders, who all operated on a range of feeder cattle through to young heifers for backgrounding.

The main attraction for all these buyers was the multiple large lines of well-bred spring-drop weaners normally marketed from the Euroa area at this sale. Presented in fresh store condition, with a minimal tail-end even the frequently overlooked white-faced and Euro-breeds gained plenty of attention.

The Wodonga sale on Thursday also caught some of these latest uplift in prices but the question is being asked how long can it last. Some say “not for long” because the weather outlook for the next three months is not overly brilliant for Victoria and beyond according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

That said, Rodwells auctioneer Anthony Delaney said the Euroa sale had plenty of clean starts and keen bidding to result in a buoyant demand that was $50- $60 a head stronger. He said it was a fairly safe bet as an auctioneer to ask $3/kg as bidding ultimately reached that level on each lot on the day.

Mr Delaney predicted the store market would continue to find its level after a dull trading period during May. “Prime market prices for finished cattle are currently very good which is encouraging for buyers to participate at these higher levels” he said.

Ron Rutledge, Elders has summed up this week’s activity saying ensuing sales would be judged on a case by case basis.

“Our network is reporting that there is not a lot of people eager to buy. Most have resolved to wait until spring with the high cost of maintenance feed (grain and hay) and the end product result unable to register a profit”. 

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