Leongatha sale cattle moving back to the paddock

Secondary cattle sought at Leongatha

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Producers showed cautious optimism at Leongatha.

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Prices for secondary cattle lifted from between $50-80 a head at Leongatha's store sale, as producers start to "hedge their bets", according to one agent.

Alex Scott & Staff Wonthaggi livestock manager Rob Ould said feedlot cattle held up very well, with Geoff Swain and JBS active.

But he said the real interest was on secondary lines.

"With the rain that's been kicking about, there's been a fair lift in the secondary cattle," Mr Ould said.

"Friesians have certainly taken up a little bit more slack, than what they were and the rougher cattle, were taking a bit more of a ride.

"People are starting to speculate a little bit, to put cattle back in the paddock, just to beat that rush, later in the year.

"We all know there is a shortage of cattle in the paddock, a lot have been sold and processed, so I think a few people are starting to hedge a few bets and just try to circumvent that from happening later."

Little cattle started to lift, but not as much as they could.

"It's a big expense to feed little cattle through the winter at the moment," he said.

Medium weight cattle prices also lifted, from 270-280 cents a kilogram to 300c/kg and slightly above that price.

READ MORE: Last fortnight's Leongatha cattle sale report

David Phelan, Phelan & Henderson & Co, said numbers were down.

"We have been averaging 4500, at this sale there were 2000 and a tickle," Mr Phelan said.

"I thought things were very strong, probably some of the better feeder steers might have been 10-15c/kg dearer.

"The little heifers and steers sold better than a fortnight ago, they could have been 15-20c/kg higher."

Mr Phelan said rain meant supply would continue to tighten.

"There's not going to be many lines of breeders cattle left about," he said.

"They are not going to come out of Yarram, it's been very, very dry; they have had the worst drought conditions that we have had ever, I would say.

"As other areas get rain, I think the store cattle numbers will dry right up."

Bullocks made 336c/kg at the previous day's sale.

"That's a big improvement with heavy Friesian steers making up to 279c/kg, and I believe a big pen of heavy Friesian cows made 233-234c/kg, which we haven't seen for a long while," he said.

Lightweight cattle were hard to sell but producers were returning to buy small numbers of stock.

"There were a few more producers here," he said.

"I saw a couple of clients from Yarram who had gone out of dairying, who had bought some little cattle to grow on."

Brian McCormack, Landmark, agreed prices rose on the stronger bullock market.

"There were not as many runs of feeder type cattle around, which made them sell better, and that pushed the top end of the calves higher," Mr McCormack said.

"The numbers were just not there, so the better quality cattle are being sourced a little bit.

"We have a long way to go to see what the winter and spring does, but you can see people are keen to buy a few smaller end calves, in anticipation the job could get strong enough, should we get a spring."

He said feedlot activity had dropped off, due to the fall in quality and cattle numbers.

"Charlton Feedlot bought one light load, and paid more money for them," he said.

He said cattle didn't have the weight they would have had a month ago.

"We are heading into winter, colder nights, colder days, the cattle have still got a bit of frame about them, but haven't got the weight," he said.

"They are still making the cents a kilogram, but when you work out the dollars, there are not as many dollars, because there is not as much weight."

Medium weight cattle went back to local producers.

"You can see a few blokes who have sold a few feeder cattle and bullocks, looking to come back in and buy a few cattle back in, just to start, because they might be hard enough to find, later on, let alone buy," he said.

N Roberts, Mirboo, was among one of the top sellers, with the second pen of 21 steers, 408kg, selling to Charlton No 1 for $1380, or 338c/kg.

The Mirboo producer's first pen of 11, 430kg, also went to a feedlot for $1420, or 330c/kg.

WL and KL Alexandra, Boolarra, sold six Leawood blood steers, 560kg, for $1550, or 276c/kg.

Alexandra's second pen of 14, 467kg, went for $1480, or 316c/kg.

S Batten, Nyora, sold a pen of seven steers, 482kg, for $1360, or 286c/kg.

Walnut Park, Sale, sold 17 steers, 300kg, for $930, or 310c/kg.

The first pen of 19 Banquet blood steers, 265kg, offered by G&J Sandbach, Welshpool, sold for $780, or 294c/kg.

Scott Campbell sold 18 steers, 510kg, for $1600, or 313c/kg.

Grandpas, Welshpool, sold a pen of 12 steers, 495kg, for $1610, or 325c/kg.

Among the heifers, JM Connell, Maffra, sold a pen of six, 391kg, for $1000, or 295c/kg.

Katelea Pastoral sold 20 heifers, 402kg, for $1190, or 296c/kg, while its second pen of 12, 383kg, sold was knocked down to Campbell Ross for $1090, or 284c/kg.

The first pen of 16 Sandbach heifers, 246kg, Banquet and Woodland Springs blood, sold for $710, or 288c/kg.

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