Store cattle sales in the North-East have been getting progressively worse.
But there was light at the end of the tunnel at the market at Yea on Friday, according to Landmark agent Chris Pollard.
“I think we’re seeing the worst of it now, but we’re hoping this is as bad as it gets, and hopefully an autumn break comes sooner rather than later,” Mr Pollard said.
The 2500-head yarding was 300 more than initially advertised and almost double what would normally be sold at a sale at this time of year during a normal season.
And this was a sign of the times, Mr Pollard said.
“It’s bad at the moment, there are a lot of people feeding, and I think [the large yarding] was an indication people are just trying to get rid of cattle,” he said.
“But there’s not many people in a position to buy.”
He said commission buyers were reasonably strong, purchasing a few lines, and a few lots went locally, but there was nothing significant to boost prices dramatically.
Bigger, grown steers looked buyable, he said, but cattle 350 kilograms and under were met with more support.
He estimated bigger steers made 260-270 cents a kilogram, while good lines of 300kg and less steers hit the 300c/kg mark.
Notable lines included Red Dirt, Broadford, who sold a pen of 14 Angus steers at $1080 a head, and a further pen of 10 at $1010.
Bungle Boori sold 16 Angus steers at $1090, Island Drive sold nine Angus at $1150, and Stapleton sold 15 Charolais-cross steers at $1090.
In the heifer market, bigger lots made 230-250c/kg, and smaller heifers made around 250-260c/kg.
Red Dirt sold the top pen of heifers, 12 Angus at $1030.
The vendor sold another pen of 13 at $900.
Other sales included Felicite, who sold seven Angus at $950, and Prospect Hill, who sold 19 Black Baldies at $750.
Most producers selling at Yea noted they were offloading stock due to the dry conditions.
Some said they were selling stock fairly earlier than normal.
Sabre Pastoral manager Derek Wilson, Alexandra, said he was pleased with the sale of steers, but heifers were down slightly.
“We were selling our bottoms because we’re short on feed but we’re hoping autumn’s going to be a good one,” Mr Wilson said.
Gina Ryan, Glenview Del Simmentals, Glenburn, said while she still had plenty of hay left, she decided to sell her last line of steers to avoid the risk of the dry conditions hanging on.
“You’ve got to think, ‘how long have I got to feed out?’ and anything that has to go, I’m sending off,” Ms Ryan said.
She said steers were $200 a head cheaper than what she sold them for at the weaner sales in January.
“The market’s all over the place,” she said.
Mr Pollard said the quality of the cattle on offer was mixed.
“The better calves sold quite well, while the poorer-conditioned cattle made less c/kg,” he said.
Cattle came from Whittlesea, Kilmore, Broadford, Seymour, Mansfield and Alexandra.