Slow start to spring but prices stay strong

Slow start to spring but prices stay strong


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NETWORKING AND LOOKING: Jenny Ellis, Bayles, and Anne Moya, Nar Nar Goon, were watching the Pakenham sale and "networking". Photo by Andrew Miller.

NETWORKING AND LOOKING: Jenny Ellis, Bayles, and Anne Moya, Nar Nar Goon, were watching the Pakenham sale and "networking". Photo by Andrew Miller.

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With wet and cold weather persisting the traditional Spring influx of southern cattle is happening slowly.

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The cold and wet start to spring has slowed the expected arrival of well-finished cattle to markets in southern Australia.

During winter, cattle supplies in the south historically dwindle.

This year, that reluctance to sell during the colder months has been also driven by good rainfalls over large parts of Victoria and also the south east of South Australia.

But those cold and wet conditions have continued into spring and that's slowed supply.

While both states are going into the warmer weather with good feed and good prices, there are worries that when the weather warms up, those advantages will dry up as quickly as the pastures.

Elders Bairnsdale chief auctioneer Morgan Davies said it was looking like a good start to the season but there were concerns among potential buyers about how long it would last when the weather warmed up.

"The general consensus is, yes, we are going to get a season in South and Central Gippsland," he said.

"It's very wet at the moment. They had hundreds of millimetres in August and another two inches (50mm) over the weekend.

"Anywhere within 150 km of the coast is good but everyone's a bit dubious about the season and how long it can go."

Landmark Ballarat livestock manager Xavier Shanahan said an immediate increase in numbers being offered was unlikely.

"Our season is good but I don't think there will be a rush of store cattle," he said.

"It just looks as if our season is good enough for people to be encouraged to put a little bit more weight into them.

"There is no rush to sell at this point."

Mr Davies said, in Gippsland, numbers being offered remained low but some continued to take advantage of good prices.

"A lot of guys have fed cattle through the winter and are getting the best of them out right now," he said.

"Cattle prices are really good, we've never seen them better, so there's certainly opportunities and there always is.

"You just gotta be able to maneuver and meet the ebb and flow.

"South Gippsland can hold a lot of cattle, Central Gippsland's the same and East Gippsland's still loaded up.

"There's a lot of gullies and valleys and it's amazing where cattle come from."

On the other hand, Mr Davies said, some in Gippsland had bought cattle in drought-stricken northern NSW.

"There has been a lot of guys heading up north to buy," he said.

"It got a little bit dearer there for a while and did settle down a bit but, by the sounds of it, the season's packed it in again, so I think the sales might start again."

Mr Shanahan said the central part of the state had not seen that northern influx.

"We are probably not a big restocking area, more a breeding area," he said.

"There will be some people who take a little bit of a chance on the season being good enough to grow and fatten but where we are is good at the minute. Just need a bit of sunshine to make the grass grow.

"All the stock have had a pretty hard August but there won't be any huge push to pick up breeding numbers or cows and calves or anything of that nature.

"Everyone's just a little bit cautious."

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