It was more than 40 years ago when Allan Brewer gave a last nod as a meat processor buyer buying cattle for the Wodonga Abattoirs.
It was back in the day of the 1970s crash in cattle prices when quotas were in force to supply the US beef market and the Wodonga saleyards was located in the heart of the northeast border township where a major shopping centre now stands.
Nowadays Allan Brewer is a respected Upper Murray cattleman with a highly regarded Black Simmental and Angus breeding herd operating under the banner of Brewer Pastoral with his wife Mariane and son David and daughter-in-law Tara trading as Brewer Beef.
This week with his grandson Austin at his side, Mr Brewer purchased two transport loads of cows and calves at Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange, and proudly announced the youngster would soon become the fifth generation of his family to buy stock from the Wodonga livestock sales system.
The motivation behind his purchase was opportunity as they had only just given delivery of all his Angus heifer calves to China for the excellent price of $975 a head paid on farm.
He said this was followed by another overnight fall of 25 millimetres on his Upper Murray country which he said made good sense to replace his sold young heifers with cattle disadvantaged by the season.
“The cows we bought were light and in poor condition but they were still a good job feeding their calves”, Mr Brewer said.
“I bought similar outfits a month ago and I was surprised at just how well they have recovered. And, I was so surprised we actually rang the vendor to let them know how well the cattle were doing because we understand they were forced to sell on account of the season.
“The cows have put on at least 50 kilograms and the calves have milk frothing from their mouths”.
“The lady was so thrilled to hear from us we have offered her the first right to purchase the heifer calves when they are ready to restock.
“Even the cows we bought this week are showing immediate signs of recovery” he said Monday contacted again by Stock & Land.
“We feed them a few bales of straw in a small paddock with 15cm of grass when they arrived and two days later they are laying down chewing their cud.
“It’s probably something they haven’t done for a long time, if ever” he said.
Mr Brewer said his purchase of the two trucks of cows and calves averaged $760 per outfit landed home. “It was good business to replace our young heifers and be able to keep some change in our pocket”.
Cows and calves from the drought areas are cheap at the moment he said. I do worry for those selling $300-$400 calves bred from expensive cows so if you can afford the feed it is difficult to know where you can go to buy quality breeding stock that cost less than $400 a head as a two for one deal, he said.