Younger calves offered at Mountain Calf Sales

Mountain Calf Sales yarding bigger than expected


Markets
OMEO TOP: Clive and Di Anderson, Delvin Park,
Benambra, sold 156 steers at Omeo; their top
pen made $1010, setting the sale's top price.
Photo by Emily McCormack.

OMEO TOP: Clive and Di Anderson, Delvin Park, Benambra, sold 156 steers at Omeo; their top pen made $1010, setting the sale's top price. Photo by Emily McCormack.

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There was a bigger than anticipated yarding at the Mountain Calf Sales.

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After last week, especially the later part, where prices fell with thousands of store cattle on the market, expectations for the 2019 Mountain Calf Sales were mixed.

However, the high country producers stepped up to the plate again, and presented some great cattle.

Cattle numbers weren't as low as originally anticipated.

A total of about 6500 steers and heifers were offered on Tuesday at Hinnomunjie, Omeo and Benambra, with sales on Wednesday expected to bring the total offering to 10,000.

Elders agent Morgan Davies said while many regular vendors had sold cattle early, some producers sold bigger lines of calves.

Mr Davies said these were younger calves that producers would normally hang onto.

"This is the third year of prolonged dry, everyone is just sick of feeding hay," he said.

He said while cattle were lighter, quality was still "really good".

"Cattle are still good because of the breeding and all of the feeding that's gone into them," he said.

He said while it was "tough going" in particular parts, the overall result was positive given current conditions.

"The one thing we can't control is Mother Nature," he said.

"The average was always going to be down, but this isn't a circumstance where we can sell monthly, we're playing a game year-to-year, a lot can happen."

Over the Tuesday sales, steers averaged $734 a head, while heifers averaged $618.

Mr Davies said there were no big volume buyers but enough interest to keep these prices at a pleasing rate for all involved.

"There were big loads that went but not someone swooping in and buying 500 cattle and saving the day," he said.

"There was good agency practice, everyone handled a few loads."

He said cattle went north into Gundagai, NSW, but there wasn't the same demand from Albury, NSW, and Holbrook, NSW.

Gippsland buying also wasn't as strong as previous years.

"Those guys didn't have the fire they normally have," he said.

Feedlot orders and the usual restockers also took advantage of the reasonable prices.

The two-day sales draw their own crowd, and while many of them are just looking on, many are repeat buyers.

This can, and has led to strong demand for some noted breeders' lines, but weight and condition played a big part in the end results.

Cattle supplying the sales came from Tambo Crossing to the south, Beloka to the north, and Gelantipy and Wulgulmerang to the east.

While the seasons have been very poor, and most of East Gippsland has been in severe drought, there are a few pockets better than others.

Benambra to the north, and of late, Gelantipy to the east, have had some rain, and some of those cattle were in good condition.

So, buying opportunities were advantageous.

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