A wet spring and good pasture growth will ensure plenty of weight and quality in the calves destined for next month's weaner sales at Casterton.
According to Elders Casterton livestock manager Sam Broomby, calf numbers will be very similar to previous years with agents expecting to yard about 6300 weaners across the three days of sales at Casterton.
"We do anticipate there might be a few more heifers in next month's sales," Mr Broomby said.
"There were a lot of heifers that went on export boats last year but this season with the high prices that are around, producers are choosing to hold onto them for the weaner sales."
He said the weights of the calves would also be very similar to this year, with the top end even having "a touch more weight".
"It was a cold, wet winter but it has set us up for a very good spring and I'd expect there to be a green pick right the way through January which will keep the calves poking along," he said.
"The top lines of steers should be about 400-420 kilograms, with the majority of calves between 320-380kg, while the heifers should average between 300-360kg.
"Instead of holding onto the bottom end of their calves, a lot of producers will be selling everything this year so I think we'll have a few more lighter calves, but the average weights will be very similar."
As far as the price outlook, Greg Bright, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Casterton, said if the market remained at its current high, there would be record returns for weaners.
"If you go on recent weaner sale results, the top end of calves might be about 600 cents a kilogram," Mr Bright said.
"We would hope to see the middle run at about 650c/kg and more than 700c/kg for the lighter calves."
Both agents agreed that most vendors could average a high of $2000 a head.
Strong buyer support is expected to come from northern NSW and Queensland, along with the south-east of SA, Gippsland and local areas.
"Feedlots and bullock fatteners will be there for the heavy end while breeders will be on the look out for heifers to join and replenish their herds, particularly from the north," Mr Bright said.
"Backgrounders and restockers will be active on the lighter run of calves."
Elders and Nutrien will offer about 2500 Angus steers on Tuesday, January 11, and 1500 Hereford and Euro steers on Wednesday, January 12, both kicking off at 8.30am.
The heifer all breeds sale is on Thursday, January 13, starting at 12pm.
"I'd like to thank the private independent agents in Hamilton as they allowed us to change our sale time from Thursday morning to the afternoon to give us sufficient time to clear the yards after Wednesday's sale," Mr Bright said.
"It follows the great tradition of Casterton and Hamilton working together."
All the sales will also be interfaced with AuctionsPlus to give interstate buyers more opportunity.
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