Bidding stepped up a gear on the second day of the 78th annual Mountain Calf Sales to push prices up by $160 for autumn drop Hereford steer weaners at Ensay.
Selling agents Elders yarded 1300 Hereford and Hereford-cross yearling and weaner steers and heifers for the sale on March 14.
The sale featured a strong line-up of European Union cattle attracting major feedlots, including South Australia’s Princess Royal, with up to 500 head remaining in the system.
Prices were unable to match last year’s out-the-box result but vendors had rounded down their expected averages by $200.
Prices in the opening lane of steers did not dip below $1100 as backgrounders, steer finishers and lot feeders jockeyed for lines of the vendor bred calves.
Buyers came from Bairnsdale, Pakenham, Leongatha, Romsey, Warragul, Myrtleford, Seymour, King Island, Albury-Wodonga, Holbrook, Wagga, and South Australia.
Elders Bairnsdale livestock manager Morgan Davies said repeat buyers seeking quiet cattle with carcass quality put a floor in the sale.
“The vendors put a lot of effort into the genetics and breeding, and they get the response from repeat buyers stepping in,’’ Mr Davies said.
He quoted the heavy end of the steers at 300-330c/kg, the middle run at 320-350c/kg and the lighter end over 350c/kg.
“Buyers spending $900 got a good Hereford calf and could throw the calculator away,’’ Mr Davies said.
“The top heifers were bought for $1050 to rejoin while a few bigger, heavier heifers went to feeders and made market rates of 250-270c/kg.’’
Rod Potter, Corcoran Parker Wodonga, awarded the Herefords Australia best presented pen to Craig and Jane Lloyd, Ensay.
Mr Potter said the steers exhibited growth, frame and length.
“They were a standout for frame and growth – they are virtually little bullocks already,’’ he said.
The pen of 21 Injemira and Newcomen blood steers, April-May 2017 drop, sold for $1190 and were estimated to weigh close to 400kg.
The Lloyds had offered 61 steers and 17 heifers, all weaned in early December onto silage and hay, and had anticipated a price drop of $200 on last year after a dry winter.
“The breed’s temperament and doing ability does the job in this country,’’ Mr Lloyd said.
Hereford steers sold for $590-$1360 – a rise of $160 on the Elders Benambra Weaner Sale the previous day. The European Union accredited pens made $955-$1360.
Shorthorn-Hereford cross steers finished at $820-$1260, a $20 price hike on the previous day’s sale, and the EU pens settled at $940-$1260.
In the heifer pens, Hereford females sold for $540-$1010 with the EU pens at $670-$940.
Purebred female prices softened by $55 on the previous day’s Elders sale.
Shorthorn-Hereford females sold for $700-$1050 – a rise of $5 on the previous day – while EU pens made $890-$1050.
Ringing the bell with the top price of $1360 was Barry and Topsy Newcomen, Ensay.
The pen of 13 European Union accredited Hereford steers, Newcomen blood, were snapped up by Roger Tweddle, Alex Scott & Staff, Warragul, on behalf of steer finisher Arthur Angliss, Romsey.
The March-April drop steers had a green weight of 440kg to give an estimated liveweight price of 325c/kg.
The couple’s seconds, Shorthorn/Hereford steers, sold to Princess Royal Feedlot, Burra, South Australia, for $1240 or an estimated liveweight price of 330c/kg.
Their draft of 110 steers and 80 heifers had been early weaned in October – three months ahead of schedule due to drought.
“They were fed hay and cubes with the weights up on last year,’’ Mr Newcomen said.
He said vendors were encouraged to use the Tambo Valley Producers Group yellow eartags to distinguish their cattle as a premium product.
Mr Newcomen said feedback on his cattle had revealed the steers bought at Ensay in 2016 for $1400 were sold last June over-the-hooks to average $2508 at 776kg liveweight.
“The top price today was only $40 less than two years ago – last year was an exceptional year,’’ he said.
“Our Hereford heifers sold well at $940 and the roans to $890, while their brothers made $1050.
“It was a good solid sale with quality cattle and a lot of buyers here.’’
Reece and Wendy Newcomen, Ensay, offered a draft of 120 steers and 36 heifers, April/May drop, and weaned in February.
Their steer average was down $220 on last year.
“We are happy to see the back of them as it has been an incredibly tough year,’’ Reece said.
One of the biggest volume vendors were Evan and Dot Newcomen, Ensay, with 157 steers and 80 heifers, April-May drop, and weaned in November.
Evan said the calves had been fed “all their lives’’ due to the dry conditions, and had anticipated prices to fall to 2015 levels.
His top pen of Shorthorn/Herefords, EU accredited, sold to repeat client Arthur Angliss, Romsey, for $1260 – well ahead of his top price in 2015 of $1165.
Repeat client David Hill, David Hill Livestock, Albury, snapped up the couple’s roan baldie heifers, EU accredited, for the top female price of $1050.
Tambo Valley Beef group member and Ensay producer Sue Gray was thrilled with the result.
Her top pen of steer weaners sold to Princess Royal feedlot for $1180.
The Grays 43 April-May drop steers and 13 heifers had been weaned three months ago onto silage and cubes, with the top steers weighing over 400kg.
“I had no idea what the prices would be like and just decided to run with the market,’’ Mrs Gray said.
B & A Newcomen: 13 Hereford, EU, Newcomen blood, 440kg (green weight), $1360; 19, Shorthorn/Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $1240
E & D Newcomen: 20, Shorthorn-Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $1260; 44, Hereford & Shorthorn/Herefords, EU, $1150; 40, Hereford and Shorthorn/Hereford, EU, $1070
C & J Lloyd: 21, Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $1190
J & S Gray: 14, Herefords, EU, $1180
R & Est D Gallagher: 7, Herefords, $1160
D Young: 14, Herefords, $1120
R & W Newcomen: 30, Herefords, EU, $1110; 31, Herefords, EU, $1100
A & E Pendergast; 15, Herefords, Injemira and Mawarra blood, $1080
G T Farmer: 15, Herefords, Mawarra blood, $1080
W C McCole: 12, Herefords, $1080
M Marshall: 6, Herefords, Newcomen blood, $1040
P R Fraser: 17, Herefords, EU, Newcomen and Dunoon blood, $1010
R & S Reid: 16, Herefords and Short/Herefords, Nunniong blood, $920
R M Treasure: 30, Herefords, $880
E & D Newcomen: 20, Shorthorn/Herefords, EU, $1050; 16, Shorthorn/Herefords, EU, $830; 14,Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $840
R & Est D Gallagher: 8, Herefords, $1010
B & A Newcomen: 25, Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $940; 11 Shorthorn-Herefords, EU, $890
R & W Newcomen: 20 Herefords, EU, Newcomen blood, $930
A & E Pendergast: 12, Shorthorn-Herefords, Injemira and Mawarra blood, $820
C & J Lloyd: 17, Herefords and Shorthorn/Herefords, EU, $740
P R Fraser: 11, Herefords, Newcomen and Dunoon blood, EU, $740
W C McCole: 14, Herefords, $750
P & R Mudge: 10, Herefords, $700
Barry Newcomen, Ensay, was pleased to sell his top pen at $1360 or 325c/kg to repeat client and steer finisher Arthur Angliss, Romsey.
Wendy and Reece Newcomen, Ensay, sold their draft of Newcomen blood, autumn drop steers to a top of $1110 at the Ensay Weaner Sale.
Evan Newcomen, Ensay, sold his top pen of Shorthorn-Hereford steers, Newcomen blood and EU accredited, for $1260.
Herefords Australia chairman Bill Kee, judge Rod Potter, vendors Craig and Jane Lloyd, and Herefords Australia general manager Andrew Donoghue with the champion pen at the Ensay Weaner Sale.
Justin Taylor, Inverloch, Herefords Australia’s Rowan McNaught and Sam Davies, Foster, at the Ensay Weaner Sale.
Sue Gray offered 43 steers and 13 heifers, April-May drop, and sold steers to a top of $1180 at Ensay.
Buyers paid to a top of $1360 for autumn drop Hereford steer weaners – a rise of $160 on the previous day’s Elders sale at Benambra.
The Elders team sell the Herefords Australia champion pen for $1190.
The Ensay Weaner Sale drew buyers from NSW, Victoria, King Island and South Australia.
Auctioneer Morgan Davies knocks down a pen of Hereford and Shorthorn/Hereford steers for $1090 to Ian Lester, King Island.
Buyers paid $540-$1010 for Hereford heifers and $700-$1050 for Hereford cross unjoined females at Ensay.