Steer finishers, backgrounders and processors converged on the Victorian high country on Tuesday to bid to $1570 for whiteface cattle at the circuit opener, the Benambra Calf Sale.
Selling agents Sharp and Fullgrabe yarded 1800 yearling and weaner Hereford, Hereford cross and Angus steers and heifers for the March 14 sale at the Hinnomunjie yards.
Buyers attended from Myrtleford, Leongatha, Sale, Traralgon, Albury-Wodonga, Wagga, Forbes, South Australia, King Island and local districts.
The overall run of Hereford yearling and weaner steers topped at $1385 and sold down to $840.
This was a jump of $230 on last year’s top of $1155.
The Hereford-Shorthorn cross steers sold for $1010-$1570 – up $280 on last year’s top of $1290.
Black Baldy steers returned $1050-$1450 and Hereford cross steers sold for $810-$980.
In the heifer pens, Hereford females sold for $710-$950, Black Baldies made $800-$1050 and red baldies $760.
Vendors quoted their top prices jumping by $240-$280 on last year.
Graeme Fullgrabe, Sharp Fullgrabe, quoted the sale as strong with heavy steers averaging 340c/kg and lighter weight weaners over 400c/kg.
Mr Fullgrabe said restockers competed strongly on the heifers, with vendors lifting their overall averages by $240-$250.
“You could see the value in the older cattle but once you got onto the second and third runs, the steers and heifers sold very well,’’ he said.
“There was buying support from South Gippsland, north east Victoria, South Australia, King Island commission buyers Peter Tuohey and Graeme Ward, SEJ Leongatha and a good volume buyer from Taralgon,
“Ian Lester and Doug Collins, from King Island, bought cattle and we will rest them here until Thursday.
“It was wonderful to see pastoral firms, feedlots and supermarkets here.’’
Mr Fullgrabe said orders from Dalby, Queensland, went unfilled due to the high prices combined with a $70-$80 freight component.
“Our cattle were making what the cattle are making in Wodonga and Wagga, so we are up there with it,’’ he said.
“This gives clients confidence to buy replacement bulls and that gets them into a better quality beast.
“The chopper price is around $1000 and old bulls are making $2000 so it is a wonderful trade in.’’
Col Riseley, Lindenow, and John Wellsmore, Jindabyne, judged the Herefords Australia best presented pen, awarding it to Peter Soutter, of Benambra.
Mr Wellsmore said the pen was even with the Soutter offering consistent through the seconds and thirds.
“We were looking for cattle suitable for finishing to heavy weights off grass at milk to two teeth,’’ he said.
Weaned in February, the pen of 24 10-11 month-old calves were Basford blood and sold to SEJ Leongatha for $1280.
“Our steers topped at $1140 last year so anything over that was a bonus,’’ Mr Soutter said.
“The price was excellent – the market is being driven by drying feed and a shortage of numbers.’’
Topping the sale overall was Jim Pendergast, Penderscourt, Hinnomunjie, with his pen of 16 Hereford and Hereford-Shorthorn cross steers selling for $1570 to repeat buyer Paul Pendergast, Benambra.
The January-February drop steers were weaned in November and were Yavenvale and Rosstulla blood.
Jim listed a green weight for the steers of 464kg to give an estimated curfewed selling price of 356c/kg.
His seconds made $1510 with an estimated curfew price of 379c/kg and thirds $1160 or 363c/kg.
“My seconds are 10-12kg heavier this year – Herefords do well in this country and I use low birthweight bulls so there is no trouble calving,’’ he said.
David Hill, Elders Albury, was buying steers and heifers on behalf of Albury finisher Noel Passalaqua.
“We have bought 92 steers to be fattened on irrigation and 84 heifers to be joined,’’ Mr Hill said.
“They averaged 300kg and $1040 – the cattle haven’t go the bloom or weight of last year but these will do well.’’
Tom Johnston, Omeo, was pleased to top at $1280 for his Banemore and Nunniong blood steer weaners.
“My top pen is $245 up on last year and I’m proud of it – its about time,’’ he said.
Steer finisher Paul Pendergast, Benambra, snapped up the opening pen for $1570 after selling steers he bought for $1290 from Jim Pendergast sold over the hooks to JBS Australia to $2500.
“A lot of those steers weighed over 700kg – I like to by the older ones – the weight of 464kg today was good,’’ he said.
Commission buyer Peter Tuohey was active at the sale, buying British bred calves for Western Australian company Harmony Ag, for backgrounding and lot feeding in the Victorian western district at Mt Fyan.
Dan Ivone, Paull and Scollard, Myrtleford, bought steers for restockers in the Ovens Valley.
“We were buying on a dollars per head to average $1000, and I could’ve bought calves down to 180kg,’’ Mr Ivone said.
“It was a ripping sale.’’
Penderscourt: 16 Hereford and Shorthorn-Herefords, Yavenvale and Rosstulla blood, Jan-Feb drop, 464kg, $1570
C J Pendergast: 19 Black Baldies, $1450
B Dyer: 19 Herefords, $1385
P & M Soutter: 24 Herefords, $1280
T & A Johnston: 24 Herefords, $1280
R & H Bowman: 11 Black Baldies, $1190
Ray & Max Pendergast: 16 Herefords, $1150
AL Fitzgerald: 14 Herefords, $1140
Macs Creek Pastoral: 11 Herefords, $1070
R & A Connley: 25 Braford-Hereford cross, $980
R & M Pendergast: 10 Black Baldies, $1050
G & L Troake: 10 Black Baldies, $995
C J Pendergast: 26 Black Baldies, $970
A Fitzgerald: 20 Herefords, $950
T & A Johnston: 28 Herefords, $950
B K Sievers: 19 Black Baldies, $945
B Dyer: 16 Herefords, $940
Jim Pendergast, Hinnomunjie, sold the top price pen of steers at the Benambra Calf Sale for $1570 to repeat buyer Paul Pendergast, Benambra.
Peter Sykes, Mawarra Herefords, Longford, judge Col Riseley, Sharpe Fullgrabe, Lindenow, vendor Peter Soutter, and Hannah Bourke, Herefords Australia, with the champion pen at the Benambra Calf Sale.
Steer finisher Paul Pendergast, Benambra, paid $1570 or an estimated 338c/kg for January-February drop Shorthorn-Hereford steers at the Benambra Calf Sale.
UK visitor Ben Lewis, Haven Herefords, Dilwyn, Herefordshire, right, was among the crowd at the Benambra Calf Sale with Deanne Sykes, Mawarra Herefords, Longford.
Tom Johnston, Benambra, sold a pen of 24 Hereford steers for $1280 at the Benambra Calf Sale.
One of the biggest crowds seen for years at the Benambra Calf Sale bid up to $1570 for steers and to $1050 for whiteface heifers.
Guest auctioneer James Tierney, Riverina Livestock Agents, Wagga, sells the Herefords Australia champion pen at the Benambra Calf Sale.
Buyer Brian Cornwall, Warragul, right, catches up with agent Terry Ahearn, Alex Scott & Staff, Warragul, at the Benambra Calf Sale.
Commission buyer Peter Touhey was buying British bred cattle for backgrounding and lot feeding in Victoria’s western districts.
Long time vendor Ron Connley, Benambra, sold Braford-Hereford cross steers for $980 to David Hill, Elders Albury, at the Benambra Calf Sale.
Bairnsdale agent Graeme Fullgrabe with guest auctioneer James Tierney, of Wagga Wagga, at the Benambra Calf Sale.