Repeat buyers looking for quality Hereford genetics for grass fed programs paid to a top of $1828 for autumn drop steer weaners at the Hamilton All Breeds Weaner Sale.
Selling agents Elders, Nutrien Ag Solutions and J & J Kelly yarded 3250 Hereford, Hereford cross, Angus and Euro steer weaners in the January 10 fixture, the opening salvo for the Hereford breed in the Western Districts sale circuit.
Active buyers included Alex Scott & Staff, Warragul, TDC Livestock, Penola, Miller Whan & John, Mt Gambier, Ray White Albury, Elders Heywood, and Nutrien Ag Solutions along with Wagga Wagga commission buyer Andrew Lowe.
The lead pens of the autumn drop steers weighing 350kg plus sold for $1564-$1828 or 442-492c/kg.
Steers weighing 280-350kg made $1415-$1574 or 460-502c/kg while those pens weighing under 280kg finished at $1307-$1316 or 477c/kg.
The Hereford infused pens (Simmental and Shorthorn crosses) settled at $1362-$1763 or 464-490c/kg and the Black Baldies over 350kg sold for $161-$1931 or 431-440c/kg.
Black Baldy steers weighing 280-350kg made $1552-$1608 or 446-495c/kg and those under 280kg finished at $1182-$1196 or 440-460c/kg.
Ben Davies, Thomas Foods International, judged the Herefords Australia champion pen and selected the lead pen in the draft from John and Liz Craig, “Inverell,” Casterton, and Hamilton.
The pen of 22 March/April drop calves were Yarram Park blood, yard weaned in December, weighed 389kg and carried accreditations for European Union and Greenham’s Never Ever markets.
They were snapped up by Andrew Lowe for repeat buyer and grass fed steer finisher Paul Mason, Wellington, NSW, for the top purebred Hereford price of $1828 or 470c/kg.
Mr Davies described the steers as showing plenty of length, bone, and weight for age.
The Craig family also topped the autumn drop Hereford weaners on a cents per kilogram basis with a pen of 28 weighing 282kg returning 502c/kg or $1415.
They sell 90 per cent of their Hereford steers as weaners and offered 160 Yarram Park March/April drop steers at Hamilton.
This was a drop of $652 on last year’s top of $2480 for 400kg steers.
“There are very few cattle in the market at $2000 of any breed so if you can get $1700-$1900 for your 70-80 per cent of your draft, you can still make money. Last year it was $1/kg dearer than what everyone anticipated with most people thinking 550-650c/kg and it was more 600-750c/kg,” Mr Craig said.
The Inverell steers are sold EU accredited. The family runs 400 breeders and retains 80-100 heifers.
“Looking at AuctionsPlus yesterday, there was a premium for EU cattle of 10-15c/kg.”
Mr Craig selects bulls on structure, muscle, feet, milking ability, birthweight, 400- and 600-day weight, and calving ease.
In the Black Baldy pens, Andrew Mibus, Mibus Bros, Sandy Camp, sold the top price pen at $1931 or 440c/kg to Elders Heywood.
The steers were February/March drop, 439kg, EU accredited and paddock weaned
Dinwooly Farm topped the black baldies on a cents per kilogram basis with a pen of 17 weighing 325kg and making 495c/kg or $1608.
Alison Woolridge and Wilf Dinning, who run 300 cows at Merino, were on hand to see their 89 Hereford and Black Baldy steers from Dinwooly Farm sell.
Alison said their EU accreditation resulted in small premium in the Casterton and Hamilton markets.
“It gives us that little bit of an edge and brings in the buyers,” she said.
“We like the breed’s temperament – we always yard wean and run them through the yards and race to educate them.
“We use Angus over the heifers to take advantage of the hybrid vigour. A few years back we were part of an AI trial with Hereford, Angus, Limousin, and Simmental, and if we had any doubts about using Hereford, it would have shown up in that trial.
“The temperament, ease of calving and growth – they tick every box. The buyers are coming back every year looking for our animals. They tell us the steers walk off the truck and start eating.”
Alison was anticipating 490c/kg for the top pen.
“Those prices last year were exceptional but realistically the people buying them have to make a profit as well,” she said.
G A Gapes, West Hills, sold the top pen of Hereford infused (Hereford/Shorthorn) weighing 380kg and returning $1763 or 464c/kg.
David Lyons, Melville Park Poll Herefords and Herefords, Vasey, was pleased to sell steers weighing 354kg to a top of $1564 or 442c/kg. His seconds made 478c/kg and thirds 477c/kg.
Last year his top pen weighed 322kg and made $1944 or 640c/kg. He had 70 calves in this year.
“I was expecting between 450c/kg and 500c/kg this year – if it’s an exorbitant price one year it needs to correct the next year. The people who brought them last year have to make something out of them to come back this year,” Mr Lyons said.
He said the EU accreditation sometimes resulted in a small premium.
Giving Mr Lyons a hand was Kaidyn Roberts, 15, who is helping to prepare the Melville Park bull team for the Wodonga Show and Sale as well as general stock handling work.
Kaidyn is keen to make agriculture his career and continue working with Hereford cattle.
Ben Mibus, “Kalenea”, Penshurst, offered 65 Yarram Park and Jaclinton blood, March/April drop steers at Hamilton to a top of $1615. The steers were 25kg lighter than last year.
Last year his top pen made $2223 at 388kg.
He has phased out Angus to run 350 Hereford breeders as they are better suited to the environment.
Ben has exported 100 heifers as breeders to Mongolia at 250kg liveweight at $1600-$1800.
TDC stock agent Guy Robertson, Hamilton, was among the buyers sourcing Hereford and Black Baldy cattle, in particular weaned steers.
“The Herefords were good buying today – they were well bred and weaned,” he said.
“We try to buy 300-340kg steers and they will go into south east South Australia and western Victoria.
“The prices are back on the last couple of years, but it has evened out to a level on all three fronts – the feedlot, backgrounder and breeders.”
Livestock manager, Aaron Malseed, Elders Hamilton, said the Hereford run was opened by a good even line of well-bred steers.
Mr Malseed said lot feeders operated on the heavy end and Gippsland steer finishers on the middle run, with few cattle heading into northern NSW due to increased transport costs.
J & E Craig, “Inverell”: 22, steers, 389kg, March/April drop, EU accredited, Yarram Park blood, $1828 or 470c/kg; 68, 363kg, $1785 or 492c/kg; 42, 324kg, $1574 or 486c/kg
K & M Mibus, “Kalenea”: 13, 359kg, March/April drop, yard weaned, Yarram Park and Jaclinton blood, $1615 or 450c/kg; 52, 315kg, $1512 or 480c/kg
Dinwooly Farm: 29, Wolbull and Allandale blood, EU accred, 346kg, $1612 or 466c/kg; 30, 309kg, $1467 or 475c/kg
Oaklawn: 26, Weetalibah blood, 342kg, $1573 or 460c/kg
D Lyons, Melville Park: 26, Mawarra, Bowen, Warwick Court and Melville Park blood, EU accred, $1564 or 442c/kg; 28, 314kg, $1500 or 478c/kg
Black Baldy steers
Mibus Bros, Sandy Camp: 6, Feb/March drop, EU, paddock weaned, EU, $1931 or 440c/kg
Dinwooly Farm: 17, 325kg, $1608 or 495c/kg
Calcarab: 24, 343kg, $1605 or 468c/kg
M & M O’Grady: 17, 342kg, $1573 or 460c/kg
Hereford infused steers
West Hills: 10, Hereford/shorthorn, 380kg, $1763 or 464c/kg
Smokey River: 24, Simmental/Hereford, 350kg, $1568 or 448c/kg
Kentara: 18, Hereford/Shorthorn, 319kg, $1502 or 471c/kg