Rain has forced the postponement of the renowned Alice Springs annual Blue Ribbon show steer and weaner sale from June 30 to July 21.
Territory Rural McPherson livestock manager David Eagleson confirmed a store sale of about 1800 head would be held at the Bohning yards, Roe Creek, on July 21.
A prime cattle sale will follow on July 28.
The sale traditionally attracts a strong yarding of whiteface cattle.
Lotfeeders and live exporters from around the nation competed on the Hereford cross cattle at last year’s Alice Springs annual show steer and weaner sale, to push prices to a new record of 294c/kg.
Selling agents Territory Rural McPherson, Landmark, Elders and TrailCo Industries had yarded 2941 milk to four teeth steers and weaner heifers at the sale.
Mr Eagleston said rainfall totals had ranged from 60 to 100mm in the Alice Springs region, with cattle presenting in forward store condition.
“The yarding will be principally milk and two tooth steers, with the lighter end being 200-250kg and other vendor’s cattle ranging from 280 up to 400kg,’’ he said.
“There has been a lot of pre-sale interest from Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia.’’
Mr Eagleston expects restocker cattle to be in demand following the widespread rain in NSW and Queensland.
The sale is traditionally held during the week of the Alice Springs Show, and features the judging of the best pen of steers.
This year’s show is on July 1-3, with the Hereford breed represented in led classes, carcass competition and the show bull sale.
Unled Northern Territory bred and interstate commercial cattle will be judged on June 30, along with the carcass judging at the Wamboden abattoir.
The carcass competition is open to steers and heifers and judged by a Meat and Livestock Australia representative on July 2, with a public viewing and presentation on July 3.
Beef carcasses are ranked on their overall merit, giving feedback to producers on compliance to market specifications, saleable meat yield and meat eating quality.
Co-ordinated by the Centralian Beef Breeders Association, the led classes begin at 9am on July 1 and feature the $1000 beef leaders scholarship, junior encouragement award and junior herdsman award.
A total of 14 Hereford bulls will be offered in the catalogue of 49 at the multi-vendor, multi-breed Alice Springs Show bull sale, from 11am.
The sale will be supported by Minlacowie, Days Whiteface and Bundulla studs, South Australia.
Traditional supporters of the sale, David and Suzanne Bennett, Yambro stud, Frances, SA, have sold out of bulls this year due to strong pastoral orders.
Minlacowie principal Tom Honner, Minlaton, will offer four 21-month-old polled bulls at the sale.
Mr Honner described pastoral orders as “huge for the breed’’.
“We recently exhibited at Agfair (Broken Hill) and on the final day rain set in with most stations receiving a decent drop of rain,’’ he said.
“Good orders for Hereford bulls followed with one stock firm chasing 60-100 Poll Hereford bulls.
“The entire state of South Australia has been cleaned out of its quality herd bulls.
“Pastoral producers are after bulls with a good strong hooded eye, strong bone and constitution, ability to walk long distances and survive hard times.
“They want bulls able to adjust within a minimal let down period.’’
Mr Honner said the move to organic status among central Australian whiteface herds had been swift over the past five years.
He estimated five per cent of arid station producers were certified organic five years ago.
Now the figure would be closer to 20-25 per cent.
Mr Honner said prices of 400c/kg on-farm for organically certified weaners were attractive, and a flat rate of $7/kg on a kill grid was hard to knock back.
“The increase in uptake of organic has not only been from the producer end with Teys Australia and Thomas Foods International, OBE to name but a few processors supplying organic consumers,’’ he said.
“Some producers are using Herefords over Santa and Droughtmaster herds to give them a live export option but traditionally British bred cattle have been predominantly used to target the southern feedlot market.’’