Heifers in demand

Heifers in demand

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EARLY TURNOFF: Rob Pratt, and four-year old George, Archdale. Mr Pratt said he had turned off a pen of Shorthorn-cross heifers early to take advantage of high prices.

EARLY TURNOFF: Rob Pratt, and four-year old George, Archdale. Mr Pratt said he had turned off a pen of Shorthorn-cross heifers early to take advantage of high prices.

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Heifers sought at Ballarat and Mortlake.

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Buyers sought out light heifers were sought at Mortlake and Ballarat store sales as supplies of younger steers started to dry up.

Ballarat saw a doubling of the number of stock agents initially expected, with one pen of very light steers making more than 900 cents a kilogram.

HF Richardson Ballarat livestock manager Bernie Nevins said the market continued to go from strength to strength on an outstanding run of cattle, which was a credit to the vendors.

Ballarat agents yarded 4035 head of steers, heifers and cows and calves.

"This time last year we thought the market was a good rate, no-one expected it to last, so it's a pleasant surprise that it has got dearer," Mr Nevins said.

While there were not many lighter steers, compared with other sales, one line of heifers sold 'unbelievably,' he said.

"The rates the 'back-end' heifers were achieving were outstanding, with low 200kg heifers achieving $1650 to $1700.

"You get at $1700 heifer that weighs in the low 200 kgs and you get a 430-440kg heifer that's making $2100-2200 - the light heifer job is incredible."

There were not many heavy steers offered, but they sold accordingly.

"We haven't had Gippsland competition here, but there were some heavy hitters here from the feedlots.

"If Gippsland happens to step into the market, it could be interesting."

TB White Ballarat livestock agent Tom Madden said agents expected to see higher numbers as they headed into spring.

"The heavier steers anywhere from 560--650c/kg, weaener weights made 650c/kg onwards to the mid 700-800c/kg."

Similar to other sales around the state, there were fewer light steers offered.

"We are blessed with a very good spring around here, so you would expect that anyone who has got those lighter calves should be able to make them into heaver steers as the spring progresses and carry them on to feature sales in February.

"If you used six dollars to work your weights out, most of the decent blacks were upwards of 600c/kg and the lighter ones sold for 650-750c/kg."

At Bairnsdale, Bill Wyndham & Co livestock agent Gerard Ogilvie said the attendance of a leading western Victorian agent was notable.

"He bought cattle to go back to Colac and Warrnambool - South Gippsland was extremely strong again, as the season is obviously very good everywhere.

'The grass is starting to grow, with a few warmer days, and the export job is still excellent."

Agents yarded 2100 head of steers, heifers, cows and calves.

Mr Ogilvie said there were cattle to suit all buyers, weights and grades.

Most of the steers and heifers yarded were between 280-400kg.

"The steers were making $1800-2400, selling up to 600-700c/g and probably 800-900c/kg on some of the very light calves."

"Those light calves that were yarded were keenly sought and sold like hotcakes."

At Mortlake, agents yarded 4470 head of cattle, with grown steers selling firm, to a top of more than $3000 a head or 660 cents a kilogram.

WVLX Agents Association president Matt Baxter said most weaner steers sold for more than 680c/kg, with many making 700c/kg, or more than $2000 a head.

Draffen Properties Angus weaner steers topped at 804c/kg.

The Draffens put forward 307 cattle for the day, with a pen of their weaner heifers also equalling the top price in that category of 710c/kg.

Mr Baxter said there was strong demand for good quality Angus heifers, which sold for $2000-2300, or 650-710c/kg.

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