It was the females turn to shine as a bidding duel elicited a top price of $2250 for Hereford infused weaner heifers at Wangaratta, outgunning the steer weaners across the week of January sales.
Selling agents Elders and Corcoran Parker yarded 2600 Hereford, black baldy and Euro grown and weaner steers and heifers on January 6 for the North East Victoria Premier Weaner sales.
Cattle sold to Corryong, Wangaratta, Corowa, Myrtleford, Mulwala, Scone and to agents Corcoran Parker, Halcroft and Bennett, Two Rivers Pastoral, Conroy Bros, Australian Wool Network and Northern Victoria Livestock. Commission buyers Graham Ward and Andrew Lowe were operating.
The grown Hereford steers opened the sale and were $60 up on the morning’s fixture at Wodonga to finish at $1760-$2100 or 425-468c/kg.
The grown black baldy steers were also $60 up and settled at $1760-$2060 or 456-501c/kg while the black baldy weaner steers were $115 up on the previous sale to make $1530-$1795 or 427-569c/kg.
In the Hereford weaner steers, those over 350kg were 44c/kg down on the morning sale to finish the week at $1620-$1710 or 462-485c/kg. Steers weighing 280-350kg were $45 down to make $1420-$1635 or 375-555c/kg and the lighter steers under 280kg finished $100 down to $1450-$1500 or 543-584c/kg.
The grown Hereford heifers over 350kg were $10 easier at $1490-$1700 or 366-427c/kg and those under 350kg were also $10 down at $1100-$1430 or 441-494c/kg.
The black baldy heifers over 350kg took the spotlight with an enormous jump of $730 on the morning sale to finish at $1480-$2250 or 407-641c/kg. The pens under 350kg were $120 up to finish the week on $1390-$1560 or 467-507c/kg.
Riley Murtagh, Corcoran Parker Wangaratta, judged the Herefords Australia champion pen of autumn drop steers, awarding the sash to a line of 32 Glendan Park blood steers, aged nine to 10 months and weighing 352kg offered by Tony Reardon, Brooklyn Pastoral, Mansfield.
The pen was snapped up for the top price in the Hereford steer weaners of $1710 or 485c/kg by Two Rivers Pastoral, Yackandandah, and bound for Omeo. The seconds weighing 310kg sold for $1620 or 522c/kg.
Mr Murtagh described the steers as having length, depth and great genetics.
Tony Reardon offered a draft of 145 Hereford and black baldy steers and 54 heifers at the Wangaratta yards for the first time, saving on cartage.
“The wet winter and spring didn’t help the weights this year. We have retained about 100 heifers this year,” he said.
“You always worry about what is going it happen but you’ve just got to take what comes. If the steers are making $1800 there is something in it for everyone, the restockers and buyers.
“I know we want more but we’ve got to be realistic. You get good prices but everything else goes up.
“With averages well down, we might pull back on a bit of fertiliser and where you were paying $15,000-$16,000 for bulls, they might be back to $10,000-$12,000.”
But the focus was all on the black baldy run of heifers where Cameron and Tracey Healy, Osborne Flat, offered weaner heifers, 351kg, and out of Kaludah and Mawarra blood cows, sparking a bidding war which finished at $2250 or 641c/kg with Mawarra Genetics the underbidders.
Stephen Street, Elders Myrtleford, secured the heifers on behalf of John and Julie Payne, Myrtleford.
Vendor Cameron Healy has sourced over the years a quality cow herd of Mawarra and Kaludah genetics and uses Witherswood Angus bulls. He also offered 26 black baldy steers
“It is a fantastic price – we didn’t know what to expect. We offered 30 heifers all up,” he said.
“The black baldy calf at the same age is heavier than a straight Angus or Hereford calf.”
Buyer John Payne plans to join the heifers to a low birthweight bull and then as a mature female to a Simmental.
“We know the bloodlines and have had Kaludah and Mawarra genetics in the past. We topped the market twice in Wodonga this year for finished steers so that speaks for itself,” he said.
Brooklyn Pastoral, Mansfield, also topped the Hereford heifer weaners with a pen weighing 324kg, aged nine to 10 months, and returning $1430 or 441c/kg
Colin Hall, Buckland Valley, sold both purebred and black baldy cattle at Wangaratta.
“In the bush for temperament only we run Hereford cattle which walk 5-6km an evening to graze. In the paddocks I put Angus bulls over Hereford cows to benefit from the hybrid vigour,” Mr Hall said.
“Our cattle run back to the original bush cattle in the district. Last year we received $2200 for the tops of the Hereford steers and I’m hoping for $1800 today.”
His black baldy steers aged nine to 10 months and weighing 376kg made $1795 while the spring drop Newcomen blood purebred steers, 439kg, sold for $1870 to Matt Cooper, Corryong.
“We calve in three different mobs to suit our environment as we start from Wangaratta and Whorouly to the top end of the Buckland in the snow country so the season varies. We have up to a dozen bulls working all the time,” Mr Hall said.
“I retain the black baldy females, they are equal to the Herefords and do well in the bush, foraging and walking.
“We run 300 cows and sell drafts of 40-50 calves from October through to May. The cashflow isn’t as good now but we are cautious with our budget. The $2200 we got last year is not sustainable with no margin for anyone.
“When cattle went from $1200 to $2000 in that 18-month window a lot of people made a lot of money. If someone offered me $1500 for my calves for the next 10 years I would take a fixed price.”
Maurice Goonan, Mudgegonga, was selling 40 Mawarra and Yarram Park blood steers and 10 black baldy heifers at Wangaratta for the first time.
He uses Angus bulls over Hereford heifers and sells the progeny as terminals but has retained the F! females in the past 12 months to build numbers.
Mr Goonan said weights were down 40-50kg after 124 days of rain (1500mm) in 2022.
He has been breeding Herefords for 35 years and likes the temperament and doing ability.
Last year he topped at $2300 and averaged $2100 and this year his 317kg purebred steers made $1625.
Topping the black baldy steer weaners was the Walsh family, Granite Flat Pastoral, Mitta Mitta, with their steers, aged nine to 10 months, Mawarra blood and 408kg and returning $1815 or 444c/kg to Corcoran Parker.
Oliver Mason, Elders Wangaratta, said commission buyers were the strength of the sale. He quoted the heavy steers as slightly dearer than the morning Wodonga sale.
“The quality lines of Hereford cattle were certainly as good, if not better, than they have been across the week. There was good competition on the Hereford feature lines with local repeat buyers securing them for grass fed bullocks,” Mr Mason said.
“Three to four people had a strong thirst for those yearling black baldy heifers and it was great to see those well bred cattle identified and people willing to have a go.”
J & K Maybury: 6, 18-20 months, 485kg, $2100 or 432c/kg
Hareing Pastoral, Benalla: 24, 433kg, $1980 or 457c/kg
D & S Minifie, Meadow Creek: 12, 14 -15 months, 438kg, $1910 or 436c/kg
CJ Hall: 9, Newcomen blood, 439kg, $1870 or 425c/kg
Autumn drop steers
Brooklyn Pastoral, Mansfield: 32, 9-10 months, 352kg, $1710 or 485c/kg
B & A Kelly, Kilmore: 12, Tarcombe blood, 365kg, $1695 or 464c/kg
R & J Smith, Tocumwal: 20, 311kg, $1655 or 532c/kg
Tim Tanner, Mansfield: 27, 9-10 months, 319kg, Morganvale, Allandale and Howes Creek blood, $1635 or 512c/kg
M & M Goonan, Mudgegonga: 19, 317kg, Mawarra and Yarram Park blood, $1625 or 512c/kg
Edwin and Peter Harris, Mansfield: 13, 350kg, $1620 or 462c/kg
Tony Manchese, Maindample: 8, 288kg, $1600 or 555c/kg
Black baldy steers
Hareing Pastoral, Benalla: 48, 421kg, $1920 or 456c/kg
Granite Flat Pastoral, Mitta Mitta: 19, 408kg, $1815 or 444c/kg
C & T Healy, Osbornes Flat: 21, 373kg, $1795 or 481c/kg
D & P Vance, Mansfield: 25, 351kg, $1760 or 501c/kg
J & K Fleming; 24, 9-10 months, 343kg, $1680 or 489c/kg
S M Johnston: 9, 370kg, $1675 or 452c/kg
Kinelmealy, Merrijig: 16, 345kg, $1650 or 478c/kg
Brooklyn Pastoral, Mansfield: 18, 9-10 months, Glendan Park blood, $1600 or 569c/kg
McGuffie, Buffalo River: 16, 365kg, $1560 or 427c/kg
M & M Goonan, Mudgegonga: 12, 281kg, $1530 or 544c/kg
S Johnston, Myrtleford: 10, Ruglen blood, 456kg, $1700 or 372c/kg
Salva tera, Whitfield: 16, 388kg, $1660 or 427c/kg
D & S Minifie, Meadow Creek: 35, 14–15 months, 350kg, $1490 or 425c/kg
Brooklyn Pastoral, Mansfield: 12, 324kg, 9-10 months, $1430 or 441c/kg
Black baldy heifers
C & T Healy, Osbornes Flat: 18, 351kg, Kaludah and Mawarrra blood, $2250 or 641c/kg
Murraka Pastoral Co, Cornishtown: 10, 15 months, 427kg, $1820 or 426c/kg
Kirnelmealy, Merrijig: 19, 334kg, $1560 or 467c/kg
Granite Flat Pastoral, Mitta Mitta: 23, 355kg, $1550 or
Brooklyn Pastoral, Mansfield: 14, 9-10 months, 274kg, $1390 or 507c/kg