Leongatha's delicate balance

VLE Leongatha delicately balanced by two different buying trends


VLE Leongatha is a delicately balanced market, with northern oversupply balancing growing local demand.


Sam Carpinteri of SJC Farms, Thorpdale, was a happy man.

The potato grower and Angus breeder had one of the biggest lines of cattle at Leongatha's recent store cattle sale, offering 75 yearlings.

His 41 steers and 34 heifers sold better than expected, fresh off the back of averaging $1500 a head for 15 cull cows he had sold days before.

Bred out of Leawood bulls over his 400 cows, the straight, well-bred and well-fed pens were a highlight.

A pen of 13, 342kg, steers brought $1180 or 345 cents a kilogram while another pen of 19 at 280kg were $1000 or 357c/kg.

Eleven of their 347kg sisters were $1010 or 291c/kg.

Mr Carpinteri said he had fed the cattle "a lot of hay" as the fertile hills had been dry.

The district's fortunes had recently changed dramatically.

"We've had 15 inches of rain (about 380 millimetres) in the last four weeks," Mr Carpinteri said.

"I feel sorry for those who have missed out."

The difference in fortunes between the recently revived South Gippsland and the continued dry up north had a balancing effect on the market, Landmark Leongatha livestock manager Brian McCormack said.

"The sale held pretty firm across the board," he said.

"At the last sale, our best result for calves was 404c/kg and it was 404c/kg for this sale, too.

"Grown 400kg-plus cattle were 350c/kg last sale and 346-348c/kg this sale, so maybe they came off a little bit, but they were pretty close.

"People who want to buy big numbers are heading north where it's dry and large numbers are coming back into the market.

"Many feedlots are filling up fast.

"At the same time, because we've had rain here, people who want to buy lots of 10 or so are entering the local market."

Another of the feature lines was an impressive 110 steers aged 18 months from Von Pace Pastoral, Woodside, whose pens made from $1370 to $1500 or 325 to 348c/kg.

At the other end of the spectrum was Carol Bennett of Fish Creek, who Stock & Land found feeding her 13 Black Baldy yearlings from a sackful of bread.

Before the sale, Ms Bennett said she would be happy if the cattle brought $800 and was later rewarded with $890 for the main pen of 10.

Most well-conditioned steers ranged in price from 330c/kg to just under 350c/kg but a pen of 14 from A&C Gillespie Jones, Bombala, NSW, weighing 282kg sold for $1140 or 404c/kg and a second 325kg pen was $1200 or 369c/kg.

There was, however, a spread in both quality and price, with many crossbreds battling to break through the 300c/kg mark.

Among the heifers were 19, 329kg, Black Baldies from N Henderson at $1030 or 313c/kg and C&K Brownie's seven 407kg Angus 14-month-olds were $1340 or 321c/kg.

Mr McCormack said recent wintry conditions and an early curfew ahead of a forecast deluge had left many pens looking "washed up".

Dairy steers mostly ranged in price from 205 to 230c/kg.

R&C Walker's 10, 401kg, Friesian-cross steers were $990 or 246c/kg.


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