THE LARGEST ever yarding for the flagship Nutrien Ballarat weaner sale saw a spending frenzy as buyers, spurred by good seasonal conditions and solid demand for beef, splurged a whopping $8,791,700 at the sale.
Nutrient Ballarat agent Xavier Shanahan said 4868 head were yarded at the sale at the Central Victorian Livestock Exchange (CVLX) with a monster $1806 average.
While demand has been strong everywhere over the start of 2021, Mr Shanahan said the Ballarat yarding had also been helped by the exceptional quality of the cattle brought in.
"It would be the highest quality yarding I have seen," Mr Shanahan said.
He said the sale was bolstered by strong demand from interstate, in particular NSW.
"In the weaner section in particular we saw stock going to Dubbo, Narrandera, Tamworth and Coonamble in NSW, along with good sales to the Warrnambool and Colac districts in Victoria, with strong local demand also providing support for prices," he said.
The top price on a per head basis came for grown Angus steers offered by Allan Pearce, Bullarto South, near Daylesford.
His top pen of 25 steers, averaging 661kg, made $2600 a head or $3.93 a kilogram.
"It's nice to top a sale and its even nicer when it is a sale like this," Mr Pearce said.
The 22 month old steers, April 2019 drop, were purchased a year before at the same sale.
"We've had a fantastic season, it wasn't too cold through winter and then we have had a kind spring and good rain through summer," he said.
Combined with his other pens, Mr Pearce sold 55 steers at an average of $2477.
Fellow Central Highlands producers the Hastings family, Myrniong, sold their top 40 Angus steers, Carngham station bred, 523kg average, at $2380 or $4.55/kg.
Over the total 128 steers they sold they averaged $2287.
Tarqua Pastoral, Buangor, between Beaufort and Ararat, sold 24 Angus steers, 480kg, at $2250 or $4.68/kg, with total sales of 45 steers at $2181.
"In the grown steers the major lot feeders dominated with Teys Charlton, JBS, Ravensworth, Hopkins River and Alloa Pastoral Co all competing keenly, along with South Gippsland bullock finishers."
In the weaner steer sector some of the best performers were Rowallan Lodge, Burrumbeet, west of Ballarat, which sold 28 Angus steers, Langi Kal Kal blood, 10-11 months old for $2120.
Glenlogie Trust, Amphitheatre, west of Avoca, sold 11 Angus steers, 10-11 months at $2050, with D&A Monaghan sold eight Angus steers, 10-11 months for $2130 and Midhill's offering of 12 Angus steers were sold for $2080.
The heavier weaners again went primarily to the feedlot sector, while demand for lighter lines came from finishers through NSW and Victoria.
Mr Shanahan said the younger spring drop weaners saw the top price per kilogram on the day, with lines from Carngham Station and Warrah, Ballan, attracting keen interest.
Carngham Station offered 272 steers all up, at an average of $1698, with the top pen, weighing 312kg on average, making $1800.
Glenn Bird, Carngham Station manager, said it had been a good summer.
"We have had good rain that has provided green feed, although that is about finished now," Mr Bird said.
Warrah offered 61 August / September 2020 drop steers, which averaged $1700.
"The line of 333 feature steers were all in one run of pens and grossed an incredible $565,740, which was a real highlight on the day," Mr Shanahan said.
It was not just the steers that sold well.
"The heifer market was very strong and a premium was paid for the quality runs of Angus breeding heifers," Mr Shanahan said.
Highlights included a line of seven Angus heifers offered by Ballanee, Ballan, which made $2270 and 10 Angus heifers from Langi Kal Kal Angus, $2110,
A big buyer of heifers was Nutrien Tamworth, which loaded up trucks with 500 heifers for restockers on the Liverpool Plains, keen to rebuild herds after the lengthy drought.
The volume vendor on the day was M&C Mullane, Ballan, who offered 274 Angus mixed sex calves that averaged $1709.