Victorian breeders sell $65 million worth of weaner cattle

Victorian breeders sell $65 million worth of weaner cattle


That was in the first week of January alone.

SNAPSHOT: An overview of how many cattle were sold in Victoria last week during the weaner sale series.

SNAPSHOT: An overview of how many cattle were sold in Victoria last week during the weaner sale series.

A staggering $65 million worth of cattle was sold in Victoria during the annual weaner sale series last week.

Analysis by Stock & Land shows 42,280 weaner calves passed through eight Victorian saleyards, equating to a gross of $65,058,112 worth of livestock sold in just five days.

Steer weaners averaged $1756 across the 19 sales, while heifers averaged $200 less at $1556.

Data shows only 50 per cent of calves sold in the first week of January remained in Victoria, while 40pc headed to NSW due to vastly-improved seasonal conditions.

Additional Meat & Livestock Australia data shows there was a 122pc increase of cattle destined for north of the Murray this year, compared to just 18pc which were bought by NSW restockers and feedlots in 2020.

Hamilton agents yarded the most cattle for the week with 10,438 calves sold across four sales, equating to about 25pc of all cattle auctioned throughout Victoria, followed by Wodonga which had 8344 cattle pass through the Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange.

Last Friday's Yea 3500-head weaner sale, run exclusively by Elders, topped the week for the highest-grossing sale with $6,107,605 worth of livestock sold where steers and heifers averaged $1832 and $1647, respectively.

The second-highest grossing sale was at Hamilton on January 4 where 3464 cattle equaled $6,038,394 in transactions, followed by Mortlake on the same day where 3729 cattle grossed at $5,915,157.

Wangaratta's inaugural weaner sale, which featured 3000 cattle and was held to take the burden off the nearby Wodonga yards, also topped the charts with $5.2 million worth of cattle sold in one sale.

Wodonga had some of the highest averages for steers and heifers throughout the series with steers averaging $1837 on January 7 and heifers averaging $1619 a day earlier.

MLA market information analyst Stuart Bull said many weaner sales were underpinned by heightened northern competition.

"It highlights that the demand is still strong out of NSW for cattle to feed on and of course to restock," Mr Bull said.

Online platforms Stocklive and AuctionsPlus were heavily relied on by buyers outside Victoria, with 3075 cattle bought via the two services.

AuctionsPlus, which operated at Mortlake, Hamilton, Casterton and Yea, sold 1849 head to average $1621 and total of $3.05 million worth of sales.

Stocklive, which operated at Wodonga, sold 1226 head or $1.9 million worth of livestock.

Combined the two platforms facilitated 7pc of all cattle sold.

Mr Bull said the online platforms ultimately gave buyers an opportunity to gauge the market which increased competition and demand across the series.

"Prices are expected to stay at still-strong levels from the short term," he said.

A majority of cattle sold online went to NSW buyers while smaller amounts went to South Australia or remained in Victoria.

In Victoria's far west at Casterton, agents yarded 6100 cattle over three sales which accounts for $8.88 million worth of cattle sold.

North-east Victorian agent Kevin Corcoran, Wodonga, said the high prices paid for livestock would likely continue for the foreseeable future.

"NSW and Queensland are coming out of a horrific drought and after gutting their herds, they are trying to sneak back in and it's going to remain that way for some time," Mr Corcoran said.

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