Ballarat steer prices surge

Prices surge above expectation at Ballarat annual steer sale


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Feeder buyers were the key to the surge in Ballarat steer prices

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Steer prices surged well above expectation at Ballarat’s annual steer sale on Friday.

Offering an outstanding quality penning of 3703 grown and weaner steers, prices paid were considered 20 cents a kilograms or $60-$100 a head higher than what was expected.

An extra large following of feeder buyers drove the stronger demand, bidding an average of 290c/kg for heavy grown steer pens, 450-600kg, 296c/kg for feeder lots, 360-450kg and 298c/kg for weaner steers, 280-360kg.

Ballarat Stock and Station Agents Association president Xavier Bourke was delighted with the depth among the ranks of the feeder buyer competition.

“It was fantastic, all the main feeder orders supported the sale, they provided tremendous competition and they bid on all pens, large and small,” Mr Bourke said.

“They also bid on a large percentage of the weaners that offered weights above the 350-360kg mark, and it started in the very first pen where $1800 a head was bid for a yard of 624kg Angus steers.”

He acknowledged the strong support of South Gippsland bullock finishers, who waged an intense battle with the feedlot inquiry.

“It was an outstanding yarding of grown cattle, along with an excellent penning of weaners that offered exceptional weight and quality considering the season,” he said.

The opening yard, sold at $1800, was offered by SJ Mullane, Ballan, while N Walker sold Angus steers, 597kg, at $1750.

A pen pf Bowie Pastoral Angus steers, 557kg, made $1630.

Progressing onto some lighter weights, Glenthompson Pastoral sold yards of Angus, 493kg and 456kg, at $1440 and $1350 respectively, while the Gleeson family, Clarendon, sold 26 Angus steers, 446kg, at $1380.

In the weaner run, numerous pens exceeded 380kg, with the majority offered at a 320-370kg weight range. 

Local and western grass competition was limited due to the dry end of summer conditions where water is increasingly becoming an issue for some.

Nonetheless, the inquiry from the more coastal districts (Geelong and the Otways), in North-East Victoria, southern South Australia and the Central Tablelands of NSW, proved sufficient for the younger weaner pens where in the recent past, demand has often labored.

The leading sale of weaners was made for Lake Goldsmith with a yard 458kg Angus steers sold at $1390.

Bells Run also enjoyed a strong sale on its yard of 442kg Angus steers sold at $1360, while Fraser Partners cleared a pen of 28 Angus, 398kg, at $1200.

A pen of Everist Farms Angus, 385kg, made $1170, while Woodlands, Romsey, sold 25 Angus, 345kg, at $1060.

A second pen of the Woodlands Angus steers, 325kg, made $1000.

Graeme Nicholson, Elders, said while all areas of the sale had exceeded expectation, most producers would be happy to see their calves sold, with new arrivals already or soon to hit the ground.

James Haddrick, HF Richardson, said the few sales of plainer quality were more difficult to move but that was expected given the limited seasonal resources.

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