Restockers were flushed out of the woodwork after widespread rain to bid for known quality and performance genetics, pushing prices to 350c/kg for Hereford heifers and finalising the 2023 Western Districts weaner sales circuit on a positive note.
Selling agents JM Ellis & Co, LMB Livestock and Land, Lanyons Stock and Station, Kerri & Co, Southern Grampians Livestock, and J & J Kelly yarded 2219 Hereford, Angus, black baldy and Hereford infused heifer weaners for the British Bred Heifer Weaner Sale on January 12.
Grossing $2.17 million, the sale resulted in an overall average price of 325c/kg, and top price of 386c/kg.
The Hereford yarding featured no heifers over 350kg but those weighing 280-350kg sold for $701-$1067 or 284-322c/kg with half of the lots being EU accredited.
In the purebred pens weighing under 280kg, prices finished at $395-$952 or 230-350c/kg, the top purebred price for the week’s sales circuit in the lighter end of the heifers.
In the Hereford infused pens, the Hereford/Simmental heifers over 350kg sold for $1122 or 318c/kg, and those under 350kg made $821-$1164 or 308-316c/kg. Black baldy heifers over 350c/kg averaged $1060 or 302c/kg and those under 350kg settled at $524-$1058 or 225-326c/kg.
Active buyers in the Hereford lines were Yarram Park Herefords, Injemira Beef Genetics, Nutrien Leongatha, Elders Mortlake, Miller Whan & John, J Ellis & Co, Willinga Pastoral and SEJ Livestock Leongatha.
Adding an air of excitement to the Hereford run, the bidding was fast and furious from the opening pen offered by the Malseed family, Orana, with Yarram Park manager Craig Brewin snapping up in a bid of 318c/kg the run of 59 Orana calves over three yards for their Western Districts Pastoral commercial herd in South Australia.
The top pen of 18 EU accredited heifers, 316kg, were Yarram Park blood, and made $1004 while the second and third pen, averaging 297kg, made $944.
Yarram Park went on to take home 45 heifers in the next two yards from R S Rundell & Son with a bid of 310c/kg. The Yarram Park, Glendan Park and Oak Down blood calves weighed 263-290kg.
Marc Greening, Injemira Beef Genetics, kicked into gear on the Koolomurt heifers offered by vendor John Wyld, with a bid of 350c/kg, the top cents per kilogram for the Hereford yarding. The top pen of 56 weighed 272kg and made $952 while the Koolomurt second draft of 51 head weighed 252kg and made $869 or 345c/kg.
Yarram Park moved in again to take the tops of Leon Wheeler’s EU Yarram Park and Mawarra calves weighing 313kg and returning $1007 or 322c/kg. Craig Brewin then moved onto the 342kg Yarram Park heifers from James Russell, Russell Pastoral Co, to result in the Hereford offering’s top dollars per head price of $1067 or 312c/kg. Mr Brewin also paid $954 or 318c/kg for a run of 21, EU, Yarram Park and Glendan Park blood heifers, 300kg, from Rowan Partnership.
In the Hereford infused pens, the top price of $1122 or 318c/kg was obtained by Mal Robertson, The Highlands, with a pen of 17 Hereford/Simmental/Shorthorn cross, Wilkah blood, weighing 318c/kg and knocked down to Elders.
Mr Robertson, Paschendale, had been consistently among the top priced pens for the week. He sold 90 heifers and retained 60.
He uses Hereford and Simmental bulls over Hereford/Simmental/Shorthorn females to take advantage of hybrid vigour with an extra 50kg in weaning weights.
Mr Robertson finds the crossbred female highly fertile, and a good milker. He considers the Hereford female ideal for using as a base for crossbreeding programs.
The Highlands had topped the Hereford and Hereford infused yarding at Hamilton on January 10 with 405kg calves at $1328 or 336c/kg.
A & L Brown, Glenerin, topped the black baldy heifers with a pen weighing 351kg and returning $1060 or 302c/kg.
Jeremy Cummins, Bottlejac Trading Co, Gunnedah, NSW, judged the Herefords Australia champion pen awarding the ribbon to Paul and Carolyn Malseed, Orana, Breakway Creek and Condah, for their draft of 41 Yarram Park blood heifers weighing 297kg.
Mr Cummins described the weaned heifers as even, long bodied, good eye pigment, European Union accredited and general overall health.
He had been visiting the southern sales buying backgrounding cattle of all breeds from 300kg liveweight for northern NSW clients. Mr Cummins said a $1/km rise in freight rates added to the cost of the 1300km trip.
“We cannot operate on our own local cattle until the weaner sales in March so I am here today to source these beautifully bred cattle,” he said.
“We operate around Roma, Dalby and the central west, and you won’t see any better lines of cattle than here at Hamilton, especially in the Herefords.
“The vendors put a great deal of money into bulls and there are some great herds about here. If you want to buy Hereford heifers, the first stop would be the Western Districts.”
Vendor Paul Malseed, Orana, offered 106 heifers and retained 82, classing them on growth and eye pigmentation.
He had expected prices of around 300c/kg and appreciated the support from Yarram Park for the past seven years on the Orana heifers for their commercial program.
“This is the largest draft we have ever offered as the bottom end heifers are normally live exported to China. The export market had been putting a floor in the market for the past few years.
Brothers Sam and Robin Rundell, RS Rundell & Sons, Condah, were pleased with the buoyant market, saying it was much stronger than anticipated.
“There has been a turnaround in the fat market and a lot of people have destocked too much. The lamb market has also bounced back,” Sam said.
He was happy to see the heifers bought for joining by Yarram Park, repeat customers for the past seven years.
Kerr & Co auctioneer Zac Van Wegen quoted the Hereford yarding as strong with quality heifers on offer.
“The Malseed and Rundell families were well supported by Yarram Park, who to their credit do a great job supporting their clients,” Mr Van Wegen said.
“Local restockers were strong today and those heifers will go back to the bull. It was the same on the lead of the Koolomurt heifers which will be joined, and they were purchased by Injemira, who support their clients well, too.
“We saw an influx of fresh buyers today with Gippsland support and a lot of local support in the middle and back end. A big percentage of heifers have gone back to the paddock and will be joined for later on.”
Mr Van Wegen said limited feeder competition came from Ogilvy’s feedlot through Miller Whan & John, Mt Gambier while other buyers were sourcing for grass finishing programs.
He said the sale finalised a week of sales at Hamilton with up to 16,000 head sold.
“It brings a lot of money to our local farmers but the buyers coming from Queensland, NSW and Gippsland staying here, eat here and spend money – it’s a massive injection for the region.
“Before we had that rain in early December, it wasn’t looking too good, but the rain turned the market on its head and all people are leaving this week pretty happy. This cattle market is sitting fairly well at the moment and it’s a case of watch this space.”
G E Russell: 10, Yarram Park blood, 342kg, $1067 or 312c/kg
L Wheeler: 12, EU, Yarram Park, Mawarra and Belmore blood, 313kg, $1007 or 322c/kg
Orana: 18, Yarram Park blood, EU, 316kg, $1004 or 318c/kg
Rowan: 21, EU, Yarram Park and Glendan Park, 300kg, $954 or 318c/kg
Koolomurt: 56, Injemira blood, EU, 272kg, $952 or 350c/kg
R S Rundell & Son: 11, 290kg, Yarram Park, Glendan Park and Oak Down blood, $899 or 310c/kg
Harry’s Block: 9, Wilkah blood, 297kg, $896 or 302c/kg
The Highlands: 17, Simmental/Shorthorn/Hereford, Wilkah blood, 353kg, $1122 or 318c/kg
Glenerin: 16, black baldy, 351kg, $1060 or 302c/kg
Bell Pastoral: 16, black baldy, 320kg, $998 or 312c/kg
Murndal: 19, black baldy, 283kg, $882 or 312c/kg