Bidding stepped up a gear on the second day of the 77th annual Mountain Calf Sales to set a new top price of $1640 for steers and $1240 for heifers at Ensay.
Selling agents Elders yarded 1400 Hereford and Hereford-cross yearling and weaner steers and heifers for the sale on March 15.
The sheer demand for cattle pushed prices for Hereford steers, pipping last year’s record top of $1420 by $170.
Sizzling prices matched the unseasonally hot temperatures, with Shorthorn-Hereford cross steers jumping by $240 on last year’s top price and heifers lifting by $130.
Prices in the first 20 steer pens did not dip below $1300 as backgrounders, steer finishers and lot feeders jockeyed for lines of the vendor bred calves.
Buyers came from Bairnsdale, Pakenham, Leongatha, Warragul, Myrtleford, King Island, Albury-Wodonga, Holbrook and Wagga.
Elders Bairnsdale livestock manager Morgan Davies confirmed the new top price and said the sale drew a large crowd.
“We had a few northern orders for the lighter cattle from Holbrook and the Ovens Valley but predominantly the heavy cattle went to a big order from repeat buyer Graeme Osborne,’’ Mr Davies said.
“The heavier steers at the front returned 385-405c/kg – quite a few buyers from King Island and Roger Tweddle, Alex Scott & Staff, Warragul, absorbed those good cattle in the front lane.
“The power was with Gippsland with the feedlotters behind.
“The middle run were around 400c/kg all the way through.’’
Jason Ronalds, JBS Australia livestock buyer, awarded the Herefords Australia best presented pen to Warren and Ellisa McCole, Buchan.
Mr Ronalds said the steers exhibited a quiet temperament, length, eveness, were true to type and suited either the grass fed or feedlot market.
“It was well deserved and the cattle are a credit to Warren,’’ he said.
The pen of 17 Mundook, Karoonda, Mawarra and Valley Vista blood steers were estimated to weigh 370-380kg and were bought for $1480 by Doug Collins, King Angus Beef, King Island.
The February-March drop steers were weaned in February onto pasture, silage and hand picked sweet corn.
“The Herefords ability to do well in the tougher years is a big feature,’’ Mr McCole said.
Hereford steers sold for $850-$1590- a rise of $50 on the Elders Benambra Weaner Sale the previous day. There European Union accredited pens made $1100-$1490.
Shorthorn-Hereford cross steers finished at $1040-$1640 and the EU pens finished at $1250-$1640.
In the heifer pens, Hereford females sold for $890-$1170 and the Shorthorn-Hereford females $1130-$1240.
Ringing the bell with the top price of $1640 was Evan and Dot Newcomen, Ensay.
The pen of 20 European Union accredited Shorthorn-Hereford steers, Newcomen blood, were snapped up by Roger Tweddle, Alex Scott & Staff, Warragul.
The couple’s seconds sold to the same buyer for $1620 and the thirds for $1580 to Ian Lester, King Island.
Rodwells Pakenham dived in to buy the opening pen for $1540 – 20 Shorthorn-Herefords, EU accredited, Nunniong and Bowmont blood, offered by Phil and Kerry Geehman, Ensay.
“We topped at $1420 last year and anything above that was a bonus this year,’’ Mr Geehman said.
Their seconds sold to Rodwells Pakenham for $1550.
Tambo Valley Beef group member and Ensay producer Sue Gray was thrilled with the result.
Her lightweight weaners sold to Alex Scott & Staff for $1240 or an estimated 539c/kg.
“We had drafted those steers off but decided to include them due to the dry season,’’ Mrs Gray said.
Barry and Topsy Newcomen sold Shorthorn-Hereford steers to a top of $1540 and had weighed a sample to give an average of 415kg, equating to 371c/kg.
Their top price was a rise of $140 on last year. The cattle had been finished on silage and cubes.
Topping the heifers was Evan and Dot Newcomen with a pen of 16 Shorthorn-Hereford females.
The April-May drop, EU accredited heifers, were bought for $1240 by David Hill, David Hill Livestock, Albury.
Evan and Dot offered 139 steers and 73 heifers with 75 heifers retained in the herd.
“I’m very happy with the prices – you would need to be,’’ Evan said.
Steer finisher Arthur Angliss, Romsey, was looking for purebred steers to pasture finish for the JBS Farm Assurance program.
Steers he paid $1400 for at the Ensay sale last year are now weighing 650-700kg after an average daily gain of 1kg over winter.
“I like to buy the biggest steers for the cheapest money and am looking for around 380kg plus,’’ Mr Angliss said.
“The heavier cattle will do a little better in per kilogram per hectare per week.
“In my trials, the purebred Herefords have out performed the Shorthorn-Hereford cross in weight gain.
“The crossbred cattle look softer and heavier but the scales will tell you the answer.’’
E & D Newcomen: 20 Shorthorn-Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $1640
B & A Newcomen: 18 Shorthorn-Hereford, EU, Newcomen blood, $1590
P J Commins: 16 Herefords, Nunniong blood, $1590
P & K Geehman: 21 Shorthorn-Herefords, EU, Nunniong and Bowmont blood, $1550
A & E Pendergast: 14 Shorthorn-Herefords, Injemira and Mawarra blood, $1500
R & W Newcomen: 21 Herefords, Birdsy and Newcomen blood, EU, $1490
W McCole: 17 Herefords, Mundook, Karoonda, Mawarra and Valley Vista blood, $1480
A & E Pendergast: 18 Herefords, Mawarra blood, $1470
D Young: 18 Herefords, Newcomen and Mawarra blood, $1460
C & J Lloyd: 21 Hereford-Shorthorn, EU, Newcomen blood, $1460
J & S Gray: 23 Herefords, Newcomen blood, EU, $1430
P R Fraser: 18 Herefords, Newcomen and Dunoon blood, EU, $1370
E & D Newcomen: 16 Shorthorn/Herefords, EU, $1240
B & A Newcomen: 15 Shorthorn-Herefords, $1190
A & E Pendergast: 13 Shorthorn-Herefords, $1130
P J Commins: 10 Herefords, $1110
R & W Newcomen: 18 Herefords, EU, $1000
Hannah Bourke, Herefords Australia, Ellisa and Warren McCole, Buchan, daughter Emily, and judge Jason Ronalds, JBS, with the Herefords Australia best presented pen.
Evan Newcomen, Ensay, sold the April-May drop, EU accredited Hereford heifers for $1160 at the Ensay Weaner Sale.
Sue Gray and Jean Geehman, both of Ensay, caught up at the weaner sale. Sue sold lightweight Hereford steers to over 500c/kg.
Kerry and Phil Geehman, Ensay, sold 56 Nunniong and Bowmont blood Hereford steers to a top of $1550.
Leonard Stanton and Reece Newcomen, Ensay, sold this pen of Birdsy and Newcomen blood steers for $1350 at the Ensay Weaner Sale.
Doug Collins, King Island, paid $1480 for the best presented Hereford pen offered by Warren and Ellisa McCole, Buchan.
Repeat buyer and Romsey steer finisher Arthur Angliss was looking for purebred steers at the Ensay Weaner Sale or grass fed programs.
Barry Newcomen, Ensay, sold this pen of EU accredited Shorthorn-Hereford steers for $1590 at the Ensay Weaner Sale.
A big gallery of buyers set a new record top of $1640 for steers at the Ensay Weaner Sale.