Bidding stepped up a notch at the Wodonga Blue Ribbon Weaner sale as buyers paid to $1275 for autumn drop Hereford steers.
Selling agents Brian Unthank Rural, Paull and Scollard, Peter Ruaro Rodwells and Schubert Boers yarded 3773 Hereford, Hereford cross and Euro mixed sex weaners on Thursday, January 11.
All categories across the board were stronger on the previous day’s sale at Wodonga, with the exception of the lighter end of the heifer and steer weaners.
Teys Australia’s Jindalee feedlot appreciated the heavy grown Hereford and Black Baldy cattle yarded, with pens over 350kg making $990-$1420 or 259-312c/kg – a rise of 2c/kg on the previous day.
In the autumn 2017 drop weaners, steers weighing over 350kg lifted 11c/kg or $120 on the previous day to finish at 297-330c/kg or $1050-$1275.
There were few European Union cattle on offer, keeping some of the larger buyers away.
Hereford steers weighing 250-350kg jumped 20c/kg or $35 to settle at 303-353c/kg or $840-$1140.
A limited selection of steers under 250kg meant prices softened to $710-$800 or 312-346c/kg.
Hereford-Shorthorn cross steers finished at 300-335c/kg or $880-$1275.
Black Baldy prices rose by $260 on the heavy cattle over 350kg to finish at 305-330c/kg or $1125-$1460.
Pens under 350kg were 9c/kg up at 242-351c/kg or $800-$1130.
In the female pens, grown Hereford heifers over 300kg were $100 stronger thanks to feeder competition at $730-$1190 or 203-289c/kg, while those under 300kg were down to $640-$865 or 256-314c/kg.
Black Baldy and Hereford cross heifers over 300kg sold for 278-307c/kg or $850-$990 and those under 300kg 304-328c/kg or $820-$885.
Cattle were booked to Teys Australia Jindalee, Ladysmith feedlot, Davidson Cameron & Co, Corcoran Parker, Rodwells Benalla, Alexander Downs feedlot, Princess Royal, AJF Brien & Sons, Jeff Cooper Agencies, Ogilvie’s feedlot, Peter Wilson Livestock, Elders Boorowa and Ravensworth Agriculture.
G.L Prichard, Castle Creek, rang the bell in the grown heavy steers with a pen of 14-15 month old Black Baldy steers, 473kg and EU accredited, topping at $1460 or 308c/kg to Teys Australia.
J & K Cardwell, Gundowring, sold the top price purebred pen, aged 18-21 months and weighing 497kg, to Teys Australia Jindalee feedlot for $1420 or 285c/kg.
In the autumn drop steer weaners, “Booroola’’, Avenel, claimed top price of $1275 (314c/kg) for March/April drop YavenVale blood steers, 405kg, selling to Peter Ruaro Livestock, Albury.
Booroola equalled the price with a pen of autumn drop Shorthorn-Hereford cross steers, 410kg and bought by Rod McKenzie, Corcoran Parker Corryong.
Laurie Bullen, Booroola manager, Avenel, was at Wodonga to meet the market with December weaned autumn drop calves.
“Our top pens of Herefords and roans made $1275 while the thirds made $1110 and $950 for the fourths,’’ he said.
“Bullock finisher Peter Adams, Staghorn Flat, bought the top pen of Herefords and also paid our top price last year.’’
It was an emotional day for Trevor Ralston, “Hollywood’’, Euroa, when his pen of 47 autumn drop steers won the Herefords Australia champion pen.
The February/March drop steers, Morganvale and Kanimbla blood, weighed 383kg and sold to Jeff Cooper Agencies, Corryong, for $1265 or 330c/kg.
Trevor dedicated the win to his father and passionate Hereford breeder, Neil Ralston, who died last year.
“Neil had been coming to this sale for 15 years,’’ he said.
Trevor offered 82 steers and 45 heifers at Wodonga.
“Overall, I’m happy with the prices – this sale has firmed up quite a bit,’’ he said.
“Herefords are quite placid cattle, they grow out well and rear wonderful calves.’’
Topping the sale on a cents per kilogram basis was David Trethowan, Cookardinia, with a pen of 44 Hereford steers, 283kg, and making 353c/kg or $1000.
Mr Trethowan also claimed the top price in the Black Baldy steers of 351c/kg with calves weighing 293kg.
In the grown heifers, A Fraser, Yackandandah, topped the sale with Herefords weighing 457kg and making $1190 or 260c/kg to commission buyer Duncan Brown.
G Prichard Nominees sold the top price pen of Black Baldy heifers, 339kg and EU accredited, for $990 or 292c/kg to Princess Royal, SA.
T & L Norman, Rutherglen, sold the top priced Hereford heifers on a cents per kilogram at 314c/kg or $760 for an EU accredited pen weighing 242kg.
Mike Trewin, Bungil, sold his pen of 26 late spring and early autumn drop steers, YavenVale blood, weighing 351kg, for $1140 or 324c/kg to Jeff Cooper Agencies, Corryong.
He had sold the tops of the draft two months before to a backgrounder.
“I have memories of receiving $1500 a steer not that long ago – last year was fantastic but if we average $1000 a head we will be doing pretty well,’’ Mr Trewin said.
“Last year’s record prices took the stress out of life, enabled me to buy good quality bulls and fertiliser, and do pasture improvements.
“We were not frugal with the money and put it back into our cattle and properties.’’
Mr Trewin said buyers were consistently paying 300c/kg this year.
“There is a floor in the price and vendors are getting a bit extra for the quality and presentation of their animals.’’
The Murtagh family, of Mudgegonga, were pleased to see their May-June drop Black Baldy heifers sell to Rob Gill, Alexander Downs, Merriwa, for $940 or 307c/kg.
“I’m a realist and had been expecting $820-$830,’’ Adrian Murtagh said.
“At these rates we are nearly equal to last year’s prices – the calves are a lot fresher and have a bit more weight this year.’’
Among the few restockers in the heifers was Paul Rogers, Centennial Herefords, Holbrook, picking up 37 Booroola Hereford and Shorthorn-Hereford heifer weaners for $870-$890.
Rob Gill, Merriwa, was buying heifers with shape and length for backgrounding and grain feeding for 60-70 days at the family’s Alexander Downs feedlot.
He turns off 300 head a week through the feedlot for the Alexander Downs branded programs.
“The market is where we thought it would be and it depends on the weather as to what happens,’’ Mr Gill said.
“I was looking for 260-280kg steers and heifers, and paying around 305-310c/kg.’’
Albury commission buyer Graeme Ward bought heifers for the Ogilvie family’s feedlot in South Australia.
“Black Baldy cattle were heading north and there was quite a bit of local competition,’’ Mr Ward said.
“The Hereford cattle perform well for Ogilvie’s – the backgrounding cattle bought today are averaging 280-285kg.’’
Brian Unthank Rural auctioneer Michael Unthank said heavier weaners sold beyond expectations at 320-330c/kg.
“We had a good run of heavy steers and surprisingly they made from 300c/kg to 315c/kg for the better end,’’ Mr Unthank said.
“Everyone had a few orders to buy lighter steers at $900-$1000, making them hard to come by.’’
Mr Unthank said feeder demand resulted in a solid result of 280-300c/kg for heifers.
“Overall, the sale was firm on our Angus sale last week.’’
G L Prichard, Castle Creek: 25, Black Baldy, 473kg, EU, 14-15 months, $1460 or 308c/kg
J & K Cardwell, Gundowring: 22, 18-21 months, 497kg, $1420 or 285c/kg
Reid Trust, Howlong: 23, 466kg, Thornleigh and Sugarloaf blood, 14-16 months, $1410 or 302c/kg
Mundoora Pastoral, Jerilderie: 37, Glentrevor blood, 476kg, $1410 or 296c/kg
Angus Industries, Swanpool: 15, 460kg, $1390 or 302c/kg
K & E Kelly, Jarvis Creek: 9, 407kg, $1205 or 296c/kg
V & J Ross, Holbrook: 19, Black Baldy, 389kg, $1190 or 305c/kg
Willima, Leneva: 20, 410kg, $1190 or 290c/kg
W & R Coulston, Lucyvale: 15, 404kg, 14-15 months, $1185 or 293c/kg
Autumn drop steers
Booroola, Avenel: 18, March/April drop, 405kg, YavenVale blood, $1275 or 314c/kg; 33, 344kg, $1110 or 322c/kg
N & T Ralston, Euroa: 47, Feb/March drop, Morganvale and Kanimbla blood, 383kg, $1265 or 330c/kg; 25, 339kg, $1090 or 321c/kg; 10, 283kg, $930 or 328c/kg
B & J Eliott, Talgarno: 22, March/April drop, Talgarno Park blood, 371kg, $1230 or 331c/kg
J McCormack, Bullioh: 23, Mawarra blood, 10 months, 378kg, $1170 or 309c/kg
M & S Trewin, Bungil: 26, YavenVale blood, 351kg, $1140 or 324c/kg
D & M Trethowan, Cookardinia: 43, Concordia and Wentworth blood, 349kg, $1140 or 329c/kg; 44, 283kg, $1000 or 353c/kg
Grifforan Patoral, Mansfield: 24, March/April drop, 341kg, $1120 or 328c/kg
J & R Scales, Dartmouth: 15, Glen Ellerslie blood and Newcomen blood, EU, 363kg, 12 months, $1110 or 305c/kg
D Laverty, Lucyvale: 21, 10-12 months, 306kg, $1015 or 332c/kg
A Fraser, Yackandandah: 11, 457kg, $1190 or 260c/kg
L Fraser, Mudgegonga: 9, Rosstulla blood, 394kg, $1100 or 279c/kg
Ag Rau, Holbrook: 16, Wirruna blood, 366kg, $990 or 270c/kg
G Prichard Nominees, Castle Creek: 26, Black Baldy, EU, 339kg, $990 or 292c/kg
B & B Campbell, Koetong: 26, Black Baldy, 309kg, $925 or 299c/kg
N & T Ralston, Euroa: 29, Feb/March drop, 329kg, $900 or 273c/kg
Booroola, Avenel: 9, March/April drop, Hereford/Shorthorn, 317kg, $890 or 280c/kg
N & B Mitchell, Walwa: 19, Black Baldy, 291kg, $885 or 304c/kg
M & S Trewin, Bungil: 28, YavenVale blood, $875
B Prichard, Tallangatta Valley: 21, Rosstulla blood, 293kg, $865 or 295c/kg
J & K Fleming, Eurobin: 18, Black Baldy, 277kg, $855 or 308c/kg
Arthur Bros, Mansfield: 15, Bowmont blood, 305kg, $850 or 278c/kg