Purebred feeder steers are commanding 360c/kg on-farm in Queensland markets despite producers struggling with drought conditions.
Drillham Hereford breeder Tom Nixon sold 12-16 month-old Hereford steers, pasture finished, to Lloyd Pastoral’s Wiembilla feedlot for the domestic market.
The line of 130 steers weighed an average of 368kg and sold for 360c/kg on-farm.
Mr Nixon said the Devon Court blood steers would be backgrounded first to feedlot entry weight of 400kg.
He said drought conditions meant the steers were grazed on a poor crop of oats followed by forage sorghum.
“I talk to feedlots regularly and they want cattle they can make the most money on,’’ he said.
Mr Nixon buys Hereford infused steers, including Santa Gertrudis and other crosses, at 280-300kg from store markets and bull clients for finishing to feeder weights of 400kg.
The purebred and Hereford infused steers are returning 380-400c/kg plus in northern store markets.
Mr Nixon said the heifer portion of 136 12-14-month-old Herefords were sold into the Roma store sale to average 260kg-325kg to return 340-356c/kg.
The family runs 650 commercial breeders, aiming to produce progeny with carcase and eating quality traits.
“We are lightening off our commercial herd as we are out of feed – there has been good rain in patches around us but we have missed out across every property,’’ Mr Nixon said.
“This has been combined with hot weather for four weeks in a row.
“We were forced to sell of 62 breeders to neighbours who had rain – at least we can sell into a high market.’’
Mr Nixon said the general mood of northern commercial Hereford breeders was upbeat.
He said this was reflected in the strong spring bull sales in Queensland.
“There was a lot of confidence in the industry with commercial producers paying up to $20,000 for bulls.
“These were going into herds for crossbreeding with Santa Gertrudis, Brahman, mixed herds of Droughtmaster/Santa, and composite cows.’’
Mr Nixon said it was difficult to gauge the Queensland market with the majority of purebred and Hereford infused cattle sold direct to feedlots or processors.
He said feedback from lot feeders was helping him fine tune breeding objectives.
He said pre-feedlot vaccination with Bovilis MH + IBR to prevent respiratory disease was under consideration for his commercial herd.
“I am expecting to receive increased objective data as new technology comes on line at processing plants this year.
“Around 80 per cent of our steers go through feedlot and onto the processors so I can use that information to ensure I’m at the forefront of carcase yield and the MSA Index.’’