It was a tough day at the office for professional buyers as prices for feedlot-weight cattle stepped up a notch during Nutrien Ag Solution's special autumn store sale at Leongatha on Thursday.
Competition by Victorian feedlot operators was further intensified by active restocking orders from northern and southern NSW during the three-hour sale.
Nutrien agents yarded 2250 good quality cattle after they opted to hold their own store sale a day earlier before the combined agents' sale at Leongatha on Friday, May 22.
Previously, the South Gippsland Stock Agents' Association and saleyard operator, the Victorian Livestock Exchange, had agreed to limit cattle during store sales to 2000 head, allowing prospective buyers to inspect the cattle prior to each market without the need for re-penning.
However, Nutrien Leongatha livestock manager Brian McCormack said there was a strong demand from the agency's vendors, who were keen to have their cattle sold due to the buoyancy of the market.
"Naturally where the prices are and given we're heading into winter, guys are wanting to sell because the price is good so we made the call to hold a sale by ourselves," Mr McCormack said.
"If we've got to keep our numbers down so we can only pen them once and have buyers come in during a viewing time before the sale ... we may look at another sale like this again."
Store sales at Leongatha were moved a day later to Friday in April to allow an extra day between the Wednesday prime cattle sale.
Feedlot cattle in strong demand
Several feedlot buyers from across the state were active during the sale with only a handful of South Gippsland agents buying cattle on behalf of local farmers.
Regular commission buyers Anthony Hullick and Campbell Ross were active during the market, as were a handful of other operators, including one who was charged with filling orders for the NSW Riverina.
Bathurst-based Ray White Emms Mooney director Ben Emms was also active, looking to buy mid-300 kilogram cattle to go onto crop for a handful of Central Tablelands, NSW, clients.
He said orders for Victorian cattle were starting to plateau out in northern NSW.
The top pen of 20 Angus steers, which weighed 609kg, bred by Tony and Jenny Waters, Milford, sold for $2330 or 382 cents a kilogram.
Their second pen of nine steers, 606kg, made $2250 or 371c/kg.
Rodney and Coral Donat, Wonthaggi, sold a well-bred line of 75 Angus weaner steers, eight-to-nine months, from their Mirboo property, including top pen of 20, 309kg, for $1370 or 443c/kg.
Their second pen of steers, 273kg, topped the market on a cents per kilogram basis selling for $1360 or 498c/kg.
The Donats have enjoyed a wet start to autumn, receiving 273 millimetres of rain in April.
Light steers 260-320kg sold between 400-450c/kg while steers 350-450kg made 395-425c/kg on average.
Mr McCormack said the market was underpinned by feedlot competition following a strong prime market on Wednesday.
"You can just see that feedlotters are finding it harder and harder to get these kind of cattle through either the store or fat markets," he said.
"Everything is feeder-driven and the sale just followed on and while there wasn't a lot of restocker activity, we anticipated that before the sale."
Von Pace, Giffard, sold a large consignment of cattle including 19 black steers, 428kg, for $1850 or 432c/kg.
The second pen of 19 steers, 420kg, made $1830 or 435c/kg.
D and P Whiteley, Mirboo, sold 18 steers, 466kg, for $1980 or 424c/kg.
G Wright, Hazelwood North, sold 18 steers, 389kg, for $1750 or 449c/kg.
Good quality, vendor-bred heifers on average ranged from 390-405c/kg.
T and M Neesham, Buffalo, sold dearest pen of heifers for a pen of 11 females, 440kg, for $1720 or 390c/kg.
T and E Ford, Glengarry, sold a pen of 17 heifers, 377kg, for 1560 or 413c/kg.
What cattle made
Ranleigh Downs, Walkerville, sold 13 steers, 519kg, for $2040 or 393c/kg.
A Stollery, Mirboo North, sold 10 steers, 448kg, for $1960 or 393c/kg.
Temsi Pty Ltd, Warragul, sold 12 Hereford steers, 607kg, for $2170 or 357c/kg.
V Albanese, Tyers, sold 24 black steers, 486kg, for $2040 or 432c/kg.
Latrobe Park Angus, Morwell, sold 16 steers, 444kg, for $1920 or 432c/kg.
C and N Sage, Whitelaw, sold seven steers, 488kg, for $2040 or 418c/kg.
Wallenbeen, Leongatha, sold 16 steers, 411kg, for $1860 or 452c/kg.
G and B Morrison, Glengarry, sold 22 steers, 288kg, for $1260 or 437c/kg.
Bulleondurra, Mirboo North, sold 19 steers, 266kg, for $1210 or 454c/kg.
In the heifers, I and R Hengstberger, Dumbalk North, sold 21 heifers, 358kg, for $1400 or 391c/kg.
CW Littlejohn, Mirboo, sold 15 heifers, 308kg, for $1230 or 399c/kg.
V Vickers, Mirboo North, sold 10 heifers, 375kg, for $1460 or 389c/kg.
G and G Thompson, Stony Creek, sold 12 heifers, 403kg, for $1610 or 399c/kg.
D and H Wyhoon, Koonwarra, sold sold nine cows with calves at foot for $2300.