The spotlight well and truly shone on the females at the Omeo Weaner Sale where retockers paid a stellar $2900 for autumn drop Shorthorn/Hereford heifers, leaving the buying gallery and onlookers stunned.
Restockers and lot feeders made a plunge on the heifers, pushing prices skywards by $500 on the morning’s Ensay sale and skyrocketing to a new record for the Omeo saleyard.
Shorthorn/Hereford heifers finished at $2110-$2900, up $290 on the Ensay sale, while purebred heifers settled at $1550-$2850, up a whopping $500 on the Ensay sale.
Elders Bairnsdale auctioneer Morgan Davies put the buyer frenzy down to Omeo heifers having a well earnt reputation among restockers.
“Over the past two years there has been so many heifers bought out of here to return to the paddocks for breeding purposes,” Mr Davies said.
“In years gone by, it was seldom seen those heifers making any more than the common market value, but the breeding values are determined by farmers who want them, and they certainly wanted those cattle.
“They buy the roan heifers and the good quality Hereford heifers as they are the best in the game.”
Buyers were met with some of the best line-ups of whiteface weaner calves in the nation for the final leg of the 82nd annual Mountain Calf Sales at Omeo, with steers hitting $2760 and heifers $2900.
Selling agents Elders Bairnsdale and Omeo yarded 1500 Hereford and Shorthorn-Hereford cross yearling and mixed sex weaners for the March 9 fixture.
The fixture finalised two days of selling where 8000 cattle were offered at Hinnomunjie, Benambra, Ensay and Omeo.
The large crowd was left reeling in the rain when a bidding duel erupted on the opening pen of heifers, autumn drop Shorthorn/Herefords from the Ah Sam family, Omeo.
Estimated to weigh 350kg, the heifers were knocked down for a new Omeo record of $2900, while the seconds made $2700 to Elders Echuca.
Bert Ah Sam said the family runs 300 Mawarra, Valley Vista and Nunniong blood cows joined to white Shorthorn bulls.
Topping the purebred heifers was Peter Faithfull, Omeo, with a pen of EU accredited females at $2850.
Shorthorn/Hereford steer prices moved upwards by $200 on the Ensay sale to finish at $2100-$2760 while the purebred steers made $1800-$2700 and the EU pens $2200-$2700.
The sale had opened strongly on the steers with a pen of European Union accredited Hereford steers from Peter Faithfull were snapped up by Elders Yea for $2680.
Then it was onto the autumn drop Shorthorn/Herefords with the Ah Sam family ringing the bell with a pen of 20 EU accredited steers making the sale top and a new record of $2760.
The run of lead steers did not drop below $2310 for the first two rows, such was the weight and quality.
Pat Cleary, ECM Livetsock, awarded the champion pen to Simon and Sonya Lawlor, Omeo, for their 32, EU accredited steers which sold for $2520.
A large crowd of backgrounders, steer finishers, lot feeders and restockers attended from Bairnsdale, Leongatha, Warragul, Pakenham, Moe, Kilmore, Yea, Myrtleford, Echuca, King Island, Wagga Wagga, Cootamundra, and South Australia.
Elders Bairnsdale auctioneer Morgan Davies said the cattle weighed an average 20kg heavier in the Omeo leg.
Mr Davies said strong support came from local districts, Gippsland, northeast Victoria and the Upper Murray for the heavier Hereford calves.
“Anthony Delaney, Nutrien Delaney, Pat Cleary, Elders Moss Vale, and Elders Yea were active on the heavy cattle,” he said.
“Producers are getting rewarded for what they have put into it – there was no issue with a tail to the sale with plenty of cattle making 600-800ckg and up to $10/kg on the lighter calves.”
Among those buying cattle for grass fed programs was Marc Greening, Injemira Beef Genetics, Book Book, NSW.
He sourced steers with liveweights of 280-300kg, either paying premium prices or underbidder on the top drafts, to finish on grass for a 300kg carcase weight.
Buyer Dan Ivone, Paull and Scollard Nutrien and Nutrien Ivone Agency, Myrtleford, was active at all sales at the circuit sourcing autumn drop steers and heifers.
Mr Ivone targeted the lighter weight weaners at 240-280kg for backgrounding before lot feeding.
“Normally there is a bit of hype at these sales but over the whole yarding it was no dearer than anywhere else,” he said.
“We bought heifers at $1800-$2100 to put back into herds to keep their numbers up for either spring calving or to join in the autumn.
“The heifers anyone wanted for breeding sold at extreme rates.
“There wasn’t as much competition out of the north this year, such as the NSW central west, but plenty from northeast Victoria.”
Vendor Simon Lawlor was speechless when it came to describing the sale result.
“When they started on our 77 heifers and one buyer said he would take the lot, I was thinking you’ve got to be kidding me,” he said.
The Lawlors sold 118 steers to $2520, a big jump of $570 on last year’s top of $1950, and 93 heifers with the principal buyer being Brad Obst, Nutrien Ag, Bairnsdale, on behalf of restockers.
“It’s a massive rise in the average with the smallest heifers making as much as the steers made last year – that’s incredible money for cattle,” Mr Lawlor said.
“Today has far exceeded our expectations and it’s really nice to see the Hereford breed truly is doing well in the saleyards.
“These beautiful big Herefords have performed and sold really well. It is validation for sticking with the breed and we will stick with them forever.”
- The Tambo Valley Producers Group’s social evening was to be held in conjunction with the Ensay sale but was cancelled due to COVID and will resume in 2023.
Ah Sam & Co: 28, EU, Shorthorn/Hereford, $2760
P & C Faithfull: 36, EU Hereford, $2700; 31, Hereford, EU, $2680
S & S Lawlor: 32, EU, Hereford, $2520
B & B Flannagan: 40, EU, Hereford, $2510
D J Betts & B Moon: 15, Hereford, $2480
A & N Smith: 18, Shorthorn/Hereford, $2480
R & C Foster: 19, EU, Hereford, $2470
G & L Lee: 20, Hereford, $2430
McCoy Farms: 24, Hereford, $2400
Ah Sam & Son: 14, EU, Shorthorn/Hereford, $2900; 14, EU, Shorthorn/Hereford, $2700
P & C Faithfull: 20, EU, Hereford, $2850; 12, EU, Hereford, $2630
S & S Lawlor: 53, EU, Hereford, $2460
C Foster: 16, EU, Hereford, $2410
G & L Lee: 10, Shorthorn/Hereford, $2110
Batty and Valentin: 17, EU, Hereford, $2100