Backgrounders and lot feeders led the charge for whiteface weaners at the Elders Casterton 62nd annual steer weaner sale on Friday, paying to a top of $1517.
The selling agents yarded 1511 head, averaging 326kg liveweight to return an average of $1240 and result in an overall sale gross of $1.87 million.
Elders Casterton livestock manager Chad Mason said vendors were pleased to see their individual averages jump $200-$300 on last year.
The Herefords Australia champion pen was judged by Kevin Stark, Blink Bonnie, Lake Mundi, and awarded to Dale and Alex Sullivan, Shallum Holdings, Casterton.
Their pen of 17 Injemira and Melville Park blood steers, EU accredited and weighing 365kg sold for 368c/kg or $1343.
Topping the sale was the opening pen of 11 March-April 2016 drop Hereford-Shorthorn cross steers offered by Noel Baulch and Joyce Usher, “Seymour Park’’.
The steers weighed 441kg and sold to Teys Charlton feedlot for 344c/kg or $1517.
Eight-six-year-old Kevin Upton, “Glencairn”, Casterton, celebrated his 62nd sale as a vendor by selling two big drafts of one-mark calves.
One pen of 88 steers, weighing 318kg, returned 380c/kg or $1208 and the second pen of 71 steers, 276kg, sold for 411c/kg or $1134, to return to the paddock in South Australia.
Jeff Hortle, “Woranga’’, claimed the sale top on a cents per kilogram basis of 412c/kg for a pen of 29 calves weighing 259kg, and bought by Miller Whan & John, Mt Gambier, for Olgivie’s feedlot.
Bill and Geoff Lambert, Paschendale, sold a run of 127 Taronga blood steers, March-April drop, averaging 328kg and to return an average 386c/kg or $1267 – up $199 or 57c/kg on last year.
The consignment equated to 41.69 tonnes of beef, with the top pen 4kg heavier than last year.
“Our top pen this year weighed 374kg and sold for 360c/kg to JBS while the seconds, a pen of 50 weighed 346kg and made 383c/kg to a South Australian buyer for fattening,’’ Bill said.
In the lighter weight pens, the brothers had a line of 36 weighing 313 and 309kg, selling for 395c/kg to JBS, and a pen of 23 at 280kg making 407c/kg.
“There was no price difference between the Hereford and Angus pens on the day,’’ Bill said.
“However, the sting had gone out of the sale with most northern buyers gone.
“The market was back 10-15c/kg on Hamilton on cattle weighing 300-320kg.’’
Chad Mason quoted the heavier end of the autumn-drop steers at 360-380c/kg and those weighing 300-340kg at 395-399c/kg.
“There was plenty of competition on the lighter end under 300kg selling for 400-412c/kg,’’ he said.
“Princess Royal feedlot were buying, as was JBS for backgrounding at Longford.
“Teys bought the heavier cattle, Marc Greening, Wagga, was active along with local backgrounders from Penola, J & J Kelly from Warrnambool, Mt Gambier feedlot, and Gibb & Co at Queanbeyan.’’
The Elders and Landmark combined heifer weaner sale will be held at Casterton on Thursday, January 19, from 9am, with 2200 head to be yarded.
Mr Mason said the majority of the yarding would be Hereford and Black Baldy females, with strong restocker competition expected on the joinable heifers.
He said the lighter heifers presented opportunities for backgrounders.
Alex and Dale Sullivan, Shallum, Casterton, are presented with the champion pen by judge Kevin Stark, Lake Mundi, and Herefords Australia director Andrew Bell. The autumn drop steers, 365kg, returned 368c/kg or $1343 at the Casterton sale.