Demand and prices surged strongly at Ballarat’s final store cattle markets for 2018.
Riding high on the back of the recent widespread rain, a bus load of extra agent orders descended, particularly from South Gippsland and along with strong feeder interest from South Australia, northern NSW and also Tasmania, drove an average lift of $100- $120 a head across the market, with some sales $200 better placed.
The notable exception to the surge in prices was the opening demand for heavy grown steers. Here prices slipped an average 10 cents a kilogram live as heavy grown steers made $1400 to $1740 a head to average 284c/kg compared to the 295-305c/kg price range of the previous sale.
Feeder weight steers, 450 to 550 kg, were sold firm to five cents higher with greatest lift applied to the lighter-end weights. Heavy feeders made $1310 to $1590 and average 289c/kg while lighter feeders, 360 to 450kg, were 10 cents dearer making $1040 to $1270, average 301c/kg.
However it was from here on in the market when the pens of new season’s weaners were penned that demand and prices saw the greatest lift in the market.
Heavier end steer weaners, 320- 360kg, mostly made $1000 $1170 a head and averaged 335c/kg compared to 288c/kg average in the November sale.
Lighter steer weaners, weighed at less than 320kg, saw very few sold for less than $900 a head whereas large numbers were purchased last month from $650- $850.
The rise in the heifer market was equally as strong.
Prices lifted 20- 25c/kg and more in places as a broad range of eager feeder orders drove set a base rate of 270c/kg for heifers weight above 400 to 450kg, and 270 to 300c/kg for lighter heifers with a small number taken as future breeders.
The December sale offered 3027 head. Traders were notified that Ballarat will not host a store market in January ahead of its four feature annual sales being conducted in February.