Hereford steer weaners topped at 348c/kg or $1200 at the Casino Premier Hereford Weaner sale on Friday.
Selling agents George & Fuhrmann offered 2423 Hereford, Hereford infused and Angus steers and heifers at the opening fixture of the 43rd annual Three Day weaner sale at Casino on March 16.
Backgrounders, lot feeders and restockers attended the sale from three states.
This year, the Herefords Australia overall champion pen was judged by Noel Cook, Kindon Station, Goondiwindi, and presented by Herefords Australia general manager Andrew Donoghue to regular vendors Jim and Jan Smith, Townview Pastoral, Urbenville.
The eight to 10–month-old steers weighed 330kg and sold for the top weaner price of 348c/kg or $1148.
The sale was sponsored by Herefords Australia, Merial and Eclipse.
Mr and Mrs Smith rang the bell for the top priced Hereford steer weaners on a dollars per head basis with a pen of 18 weighing 350kg, EU accredited and returning $1200 or 343c/kg.
The couple also had the top price on a cents per kilogram basis with a pen of 18, 330kg, fetching 348c/kg or $1148.
In the yearling steers, Jim and Jan sold milk tooth, 14-month-old Herefords, 412kg, for 314c/kg or $1293 as feeder steers.
The opening lanes of purebred steer weaners sold to 340c/kg or $1200 for the heavier end at 350kg, while the middle run of steers weighing 250-350kg made 319-348c/kg or $872-$1178.
Auctioneer Darren Perkins, George & Fuhrmann, said the heaviest pen at 350kg sold for 343c/kg or $1200 to Ironbark Herefords, Barraba.
John and Maree Smith, Woodenbong, opened the sale with a pen of 17 steers, 346kg and EU accredited, making 340c/kg or $1176.
The couple also sold a pen of purebred steers, 346kg, for 341c/kg or $1181 to East Lynne, Deepwater.
Yearling, milk tooth, Santa Gertrudis-Hereford cross steers topped the sale overall, weighing 540kg, and returning 299c/kg or $1603 for vendor R Bacon to Moruyi Feedlot, Goondiwindi.
In the heifers, W G & M A Weaver topped the autumn drop weaners with a pen of nine Herefords averaging 293kg and returning 354c/kg or $1038.
Mr Perkins said 90 per cent of the heifers sold to restockers for local breeding programs, while the balance went to backgrounders for lot feeding.
“There is a big shortage of Hereford breeding cattle in this country, to suit our crossbred programs,’’ he said.
“The demand for steers was mostly from backgrounders and lot feeders.’’
Dry seasonal conditions meant those buyers usually attending the sale from Merriwa, Dubbo and Gunnedah were absent.
Although there was a good offering of European Union accredited cattle, Mr Perkins said a 5-10c/kg premium was paid for PCAS eligible (Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System).
He quoted the sale as “solid’’ despite the dry conditions in NSW and southern Queensland, with the middle run of steers making 320-335c/kg, and lighter steers up to 350c/kg.
Mr Perkins said the majority of vendors had rounded down their expectations of averages to 2016 levels on the back last year’s historically high prices.
The Hereford-Bos indicus infused sale on Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23, is also sponsored by Herefords Australia with the best presented Hereford infused awards for both steers and heifers.
The offering of 4500 head includes 2000 EU accredited weaners comprising 1000 Santa-Hereford steers, 600 Santa-Hereford weaner heifers, and 30 F1 Brahman-Hereford weaner heifers.
Mr Perkins expects restocker activity to be strong on the offering of Santa-Hereford heifers on Friday.
Townview Pastoral: 18, Hereford steers, 350kg, 343c/kg or $1200; 18, Hereford steers, 330kg, 348c/kg or $1148
J & M Smith: 17, Hereford steers, 346kg, 340c/kg or $1176; 19, Hereford steers, 326kg, 340c/kg or $1109; 19, Herefords, 313kg, 346c/kg $1098
Reid: 20, Hereford steers, 297kg, 333c/kg or $991
G & S McPherson: 14, Hereford steers, 326kg, 324c/kg or $1057; 12, Hereford steers, 304kg, 319c/kg or $970
Champion Hereford steers and heifers went to Jan and Jim Smith “Townview”, Urbenville, pictured with Herefords Australia General Manager Andrew Donoghue and judge Noel Cook “Kindon Station” Goondiwindi.
Paul McKey, Woodenbong, sold steers to $950 at 294kg and averaged $784 for 246kg. His heavier heifers, averaged 265kg and made 330c/kg or $800.
Warren Weaver, Lynches Creek, with Hereford heifers which made 354c/kg at 293kg to bring $1038.
John Smith, The Falls, Killarney Qld with Karen, Shirley and George Hardcastle, Koreelah whose Hereford steers averaged $890 at 276kg, or 31kg heavier than last year.
Phillipa and Robert Page, Heifer Station, bought Hereford heifers from Jim and Jan Smith to produce first cross females for their commercial enterprise.
Wall to wall Herefords under cover at Casino on Friday.
Hereford numbers and quality were exceptional at the special store sale on Friday.
All images courtesy of Fairfax Media.