Ballarat quality shines in pleasing result

Murray Arnel, 20/02/2023

SUMMARY: 4420 yarded

EYCI: 751c/kg

Feeders: +29c/kg

Steers: 600-700kg: $2000-$2590, av 354c/kg; 500-600kg: $1840-$2390, av 404c/kg: 360-500kg: $1400-$2180 av 435c/kg; 280-360kg: $1300-$1770 av 465c/kg

Offering for the last time before retirement and passing his operation to the next generation Pat Mangan, Geelong sold Hereford-Shorthorn steers by Garnshiel and Belmore Bulls from Ironbark cows.

WHILE prices received were significant less and soon forgotten compared to those received 12 months ago, the quality of breeding and the exceptional weight presented at the 2023 Ballarat annual steer sale will long be remembered.

Such was the depth of breeding and the consistency of the weight throughout this 4420 head predominantly Black steer yarding that more than 600 head offered weights that exceeded weights of 500 kilograms live up to 700kg, and only a handful of lots were offered below at 280kg.

That allowed an eager following of specialist South Gippsland heavy bullock finishers along with a keen body of large and mid-scale commercial lot-feeders to each fill their needs alongside a broad range of backgrounder buyers who consigned purchases to all areas of Victoria and beyond.

Representing volume Vendor Fraser Partners, Bo-Peep, Benn Fraser was pleased with his family’s results albeit down considerably on last year.

Backgrounder restockers that were most dominant included the Geelong/Colac region, Euroa, Swan Hill and Mt Gambier/Penola, SA, along with several undisclosed commission buyer-held orders entrusted to the likes of commission buyers, Campbell Ross and Duncan Brown.

Comparing prices however the result was far less glamorous than 12 months ago to return values that ranged from $550 up to $700 and $800 a head less.

TB White principal and auctioneer, Leo White said he was personally wrapped with the result of the sale.

Although prices were well back, the quality of the yarding was “second to none” Mr White said.

“There was a lot of doom and gloom about with the recent market falling as it has. But with heavy steers selling around the $4/kg and feeders and heavy weaners around the 430 to 460/kg it was a great result”.

HR Richardson auctioneer James Haddrick said he thought heavy steers had sold better than was expected while the quality of the weaner yarding was a highlight.

As far as the expected weaner prices, Mr Haddrick said it was difficult had an expectation of value but in the end 450 to 480c/kg for most was good result.

Sean Simpson, Elders agreed pre-sale expectations were difficult to make however the demand had remained strong throughout and that was a pleasing aspect.

To view Beef Central’s full Interview with Leo White, click on video below:

But when compared against the industry benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) which on this day 12 months ago stood at a whopping 1127c/kg compared to Friday’s 751-cents this sale has charmed the house down.

This is best explained by the fact the feeder steer component averaged +29 basis points above the EYCI compared last year -8 points, while heavy steers rated minus 13 points compared to -80 points 12 months ago.

The category that didn’t excel was the sub-360kg range which rated +66 points compared to + 88 points a year ago (and that’s the equivalent of about 20-25c/kg or $30-$60/head).

Being a predominantly black steer sale, much of this can be explained by a distinct lack of buyer interest expressed in the coloured-cattle lines i.e. the white-faced and European breeds.

These were regularly sold at discounts up to $100 a head less than similar weighted Angus which was a huge disappointment to the efforts of their breeder vendors.

Topping the sale in dollars per head terms was a yard 10 Black Baldy steers weighed at 694kg for CM & VJ Faulkner.

These were sold at $2570 to processor O’Çonnor Beef while a second yard from the same vendor- 11 Angus, 680kg made $2550 both calculated at about 375c/kg.

Watch the live vision of the opening sales at Ballarat:

KP Maher & Sons sold 19 vendor-bred Angus, 592c/kg at $2390 to Elders Korumburra who also claimed 13 Angus, 572kg at $2300 from LJ& RL McKenzie and 20 Angus 582kg at $2370 sold account Glyton Ag.

JB Swift’s J&F feedlot account were also an active buyer of heavy grown steers selecting 18 Angus 596kg sold at $2300 by C & C Salmon, and 19 Angus 574kg account Belmore at $2300 with most of those purchases made around the $4/kg mark.

Stepping back through the weights the Teys Charlton feedlot order, which gathered some 450 head on the day, began by selecting 25 SJ Blackmore Angus, 502kg at $2160.

This buy was followed by yards of 16 Springdallah Pastoral Angus, 502kg made at $2120 and 18 Eurambeen East Angus 510kg penciled at $2170.

SA feeder Thomas Foods selected for its multi-load haul 33 Barwon Holdings Angus, 473kg at $2070, 18 Dunach Park Angus, 456kg at $1920 and 18 P Rumler and Sons Angus, 469kg at $2040.

Most of these feeder (400-500kg) purchases were made in the 415 to 440c/kg price range with only the occasional sale higher.

Feedlot orders supplied by Hopkins River, Creek-5, and Ross-2 also contribute to the strong feeder demand.

These included multiple sales made by Carrahil– 42 Angus, 453kg sold at $2000 and 26, 417kg $1870, and Lake Goldsmith- 22 Angus 465kg sold at $2050 and 29, 422kg sold at $1850.

Starting the weaner run vendor G Portelli offered 12 Angus, 502kg, aged 12-14 months. These made $2150 while D&M Slater sold 10 Angus 456kg at $1960 aged 10 months.

IW &RL Shaw sold, at $1950, nine Angus, 447kg (11-12 months), Hanrahan Ag sold 13 Angus, 436kg, (11 months) at $1880 while Crick & Sons sold 20 Angus, 401kg, (10 months) at $1800.

Amongst the volume weaner suppliers Fraser Partners, Bo-Peep forwarded 150 head of Franc-blood Angus comprising pens of 29, 386kg, sold at $1770, 48, 377kg sold at $1700 and 36, 325kg that made 1570.

Vendor-breeder Wolgan, Burrumbeet, presented 90 Angus, Langi Kal Kal-blood, April-May-drop. They gained prices of $1730 for 25, 383kg and $1640 for 45 head, 356kg.

Chartwell Farms presented 70 head of Murdeduke and Banquet-blood Angus, February-March-drop.

These returned $1730 for a yard of 22, 389kg and $1620 for 39, 1620kg.

DJ & AL Briody collected $1680 for a yard of 30 Banquet-blood Angus, 350kg, IG & HM Mathews sold 22 Franc-blood Angus, 370kg also at $1680 while Harrowgem collected $1620 on a yard of 22 Angus weighed at 346kg.

As mentioned, sales of coloured cattle disappointed. These includes yards of 10 Limousin-cross, 390kg sold at $1530, 12 pure Charolais, 372kg sold at $1450, 13 Hereford, 381kg sold at $1400 and 24 Murray Grey, 342kg sold at $1330.

Sales of light-weight weaners (sub-280kg) were mostly made between $1350 and $1550 and although few in number were considered good selling on the day.


  • Click here to listen to our Weekly Grill podcast published on Friday, where host Kerry Lonergan interviews veteran saleyards market reporter Murray Arnel, who retires shortly after a distinguished 45-year career watching the ebbs and flows of the southern cattle and sheep markets.






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