Hereford calves were highly sought after for certified grass fed programs at the Wodonga Premier Hereford Euro and Other Breeds Sale, with prices jumping 30c/kg on the previous day.
Selling agents Elders, Paull & Scollard Landmark yarded 3800 Herefords, black baldies and Euro cross steers and heifers on January 10 at the Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange.
With many buyers and agents absent due to ongoing fires, a small crowd pushed up prices on the steer weaners however heifers met with subdued demand, with prices easing by up to 30c/kg.
Topping the purebred weaner offering on a dollars per head basis was David Sleigh, Sleigh Pastoral, Ruffy, Vic, with a pen of 25 Allendale blood, Bayunga bred steers, 356kg, and selling for $1120 or 314c/kg to Phil Gledhill, Elders Holbrook.
Mr Sleigh offered 98 head, saying weights were 20-30kg down on the back of an ordinary season.
The cattle sold above his expectations of $1000 or 280-300c/kg. Steven Oliver and his daughter-in-law Lucy Oliver paid 322c/kg for the Sleigh Pastoral’s run of 50 steers weighing 319kg for the family’s Everton property.
Richard Long, Howitt Plains, topped the yarding on a cents per kilogram basis at 336c/kg (up 5c/kg on the same sale last year) for a draft of 34 Yavenvale, Glentrevor and Wirruna blood steers, weighing 301kg.
They were snapped up by Phil Gledhill for a Holbrook steer finisher.
Richard Long uses Hereford bulls in the top one per cent for intramuscular fat, top five per cent for eye muscle area and growth, and had yard weaned the calves in December.
The annual run of bullocks and heavy grown steers from Alistair McKoy, Ohio, Holbrook, was bought by Neale Flanagan, JBS and Andrew Lowe, Ladysmith feedlot, and topped at $1420 for 20-22 month-old steers weighing 571kg.
In the purebred yearling and heavy grown steers over 350kg, prices finished at $840-$1420 or 248-296c/kg – a rise of $210 on the previous day’s sale at Wodonga – while the black baldies settled at $950-$1430 or 279-291 (up 5c/kg).
The heavier end of the autumn drop 2019 draft over 350kg sold for $1050-$1120 or 280-314c/kg, or up 20c/kg on the Thursday sale.
Steers weighing 250-350kg commanded plenty of attention to make $660-$1060 or 249-336c/kg – a rise of $10 a head and 30c/kg.
There was not enough lighter weight purebred steers penned to quote on.
The heavier black baldy steers over 350kg lost ground to make $1020-$1190, or 278-293c/kg while those under 350kg sold for $930-$970 (firm on Thursday’s sale) or 286-292c/kg.
In the female pens, heavy Hereford heifers over 350kg fell by $100 a head to finish at $825-$1010 or an average of 235c/kg, and the lighter weights of 350kg or less sold for $610-$820 or 199-235c/kg – a fall of $30.
Grown black baldy heifers also lost ground to be down $110 to finish at $1020-$1190 or 278-293c/kg and the lighter end at $930-$970 (firm) or 286-292c/kg.
Cattle were booked to JBS Australia, Charlton and Ladysmith feedlots, and restockers at Benalla, Mansfield, Wangaratta, Shepparton, Everton, Glenrowan and Albury-Wodonga.
Corryong school bus driver Bernie McNamara was unable to see his steers win the Herefords Australia champion pen as he was busy with fires in the Nariel Valley.
The pen of 28 spring-drop steers weighed an average of 442kg and sold for $1310 or 296c/kg to Rodwells Mansfield.
Judge Graeme Ward had bought bullocks off Mr McNamara in the past for Queensland buyers.
“They hang up well, yield, have plenty of bone and softness – they are great performers,” Mr Ward said.
Cecily Trickett, Culcairn, has taken over the herd of the late Isobel Webb, who was Australia’s oldest commercial Hereford producer at 101 before she passed away in 2018.
Cecily sold the top pen of Wirruna blood calves, 344kg, for $1045 or 303c/kg to Pat Kindellan, Paull & Scollard Landmark, the seconds at 318kg for $960 or 301c/kg and the thirds at 282kg for $865 or 306c/kg.
Mrs Trickett said she was pleased to carry on the legacy for Isobel.
“It was good to get them here, they presented well and were quiet,” she said.
“We are having an ordinary season and are running around 200 cows.”
Also among the vendors was Maurice Goonan, Mudgegonga, selling March-April drop Mawarra, Tarcombe and South Boorook blood steers, 323kg, for 306c/kg.
“I’m happy enough with that price – the weights were good considering the season and the fires are not that far away,” he said.
“I sold same age black baldy steers weighing 335kg for $970 or 289c/kg – the temperament of the Herefords is good and they continue to do well.”
Peter and Sarah Kennedy, Glenrowan, were sourcing Hereford heifers for training their cutting horses, paying $635.
“They have a good temperament and do well – we will put 100kg on them and sell them,” Mrs Kennedy said.
“The heifers are quite buyable today considering the season.”
Elders auctioneer Brett Shea said there was strong feedlot competition on the lead weaner calves and heavier grown steers.
“As we rolled through into the weaners, there was less commission buyer and feedlot competition and more backgrounders chasing those good quality Hereford steer calves to tuck away for a grass fed program,” Mr Shea said.
“There was a fair bit of repeat competition on the Hereford run.
“Obviously our thoughts are with those people affected by the fires but if you had of said we would get a top of 336c/kg today…so for the job to have held up as strong as it has shows a lot of confidence in the cattle market for 2020.’’
Mr Shea said the front lane of Hereford calves were well sought after, were annual drafts and clearly performed for buyers.
“The top priced calves at 336c/kg showed a lot of depth and muscle, with vendor Richard Long himself commenting they were probably the best calves he had lined up here for sale,” he said.
“Buyer Phil Gledhill will put those cattle away for a certified grass fed program for spring 2020.
“A highlight of our two week of sales has been this run of Hereford calves sold today.”
Mr Shea said JBS were rock solid on the heavy end of the heifers for lot feeding.
“Heifers were generally making up to $910 or 260c/kg – there was solid demand for heifers 350kg and above.
“There was a drop off in competition on the lower weights as those cattle will need backgrounding first.”
With regard to the fires, several vendors were unable to send their full compliment of numbers originally entered.
“Our numbers haven’t been severely affected by the fires in the district,” Mr Shea said.
“Our Tuesday fat market was the first selling cattle out of the fire affected areas and we expect that to continue throughout the next few weeks.”
Two five-litre drench packs were donated by Elders and raised $1500 for bush fire affected farmers on the day.
Sleigh Pastoral, Ruffy: 25, Bayunga bred, Allandale blood, 356kg, $1120 or 314c/kg; 50, 319kg, $1030 or 322c/kg; 23, 272kg, $805 or 295c/kg
A T Longergan, Sandy Creek: 12, 396kg, $1120 or 282c/kg
D & V McCallum, Tooma: 21, Yavenvale blood, 350kg, $1100 or 314c/kg
Timberlane Pastoral Co, Tallangatta Valley: 16, Newcomen and Bowmont blood, 371kg, $1065 or 287c/kg
H & R Long, Howitt Plains: 28, Yavenvale and Glentrevor blood, 338kg, $1060 or 313c/kg; 34, 301kg, $1014 or 336c/kg
McGuffie, Glenburn: 5, Nunniong blood, 374kg, $1050 or 280c/kg
G J Hore, Wymah: 26, Rotherfield blood, 331kg, $1035 or 312c/kg
A & J Pendergast, Swifts Creek: 13, Injemira and Newcomen blood, 324kg, $995 or 307c/kg
M & A Goonan, Mudgegonga: 15, Mawarra blood, 323kg, $990 or 306c/kg
P & R Sandy, Swifts Creek: 15, Mawarra and Injemira blood, 328kg, $990 or 301c/kg
J M Hiscock & Sons, Kilmore: 12, Glendan Park and Tarcombe blood, 334kg, $970 or 290c/kg
Cecily Trickett, Morven: 16, Wirruna blood, 344kg, $1045 or 303c/kg; 32, 318kg, $960 or 301c/kg; 18, 282kg, $865 or 306c/kg
C & T Healy, Osbornes Flat: 16, 405kg, $1190 or 293c/kg; 6, 338kg, $970 or 308c/kg
McGuffie, Buffalo River: 7, Nunniong blood, 366kg, $1020 or 278c/kg
C & C Hall, Buckland Valley: 27, 318kg, $930 or 292c/kg
C & C Hall, Buckland Valley: 18, black baldy, 404kg, $1050 or 259c/kg
Denmar Farm, Ben Valley: 5, Hereford cross, 429kg, $1010
T Klippel, Corryong: 26, Herefords, 351kg, $825 or 235c/kg
T & M Patrick, Kancoona: 17, 349kg, $820 or 234c/kg
Boco Past Co: 21, black baldies, 336kg, $770 or 229c/kg; 10, Hereford, 292kg, $635 or 217c/kg
B Prichard, Tallangatta Valley: 25, Rosstulla blood, 315kg, $730 or 231c/kg
A & J Pendergast, Swifts Creek: 17, Injemira and Newcomen blood, 310kg, $680
Umbargo Pastoral, Tarcutta: 26, Wandong blood, 329kg, $655
P & R Sandy, Swfits Creek: 12, Mawarra and Injemira blood, 271kg, $610 or 225c/kg