JUST under 2000 head of organically-raised steers from Australian Livestock Company (ALC) – believed to be the largest line of certified-organic cattle to be sold through a saleyard in Australia – attracted inspired bidding from the gallery at the Western Queensland Livestock Exchange (WQLX) Store Sale on Wednesday.
The lead pen, drawn from the iconic livestock holding, Mt Harden, near Blackall, peaked at 558c/kg and weighed 399kg to return $2226/head for vendor.
The complete offering, all bred from Ultrablack bulls, averaged 533c/kg and weighed 399kg.
ALC General Manager, Nev Kelly, said the steers were the progeny of 8000 head of Georgina Gold and Ultrablack females originating from Georgina Pastoral-owned Lake Nash Station which ALC secured and relocated to the ALC aggregation in mid-2020.
At the time, this deal was described as one of Australia’s largest in-paddock transactions.
“We are very happy with the sale of these steers as the results exceeded our expectations,” Mr Kelly said.
Both organic and non-organic producers vied for the cattle with an organic meat company and conventional feedlot operation securing the lion’s share.
Mr Kelly credited the cattle’s excellent condition to a tremendous season in the Central West Queensland region.
“It’s not often you are in the middle of June and there is still green grass growing,” Mr Kelly said.
“It’s a terrific season and talking to graziers who have lived here all their lives they are saying it’s the best they have ever seen.”
Tim Salter, Elders Longreach, said bidding was fierce across the complete ALC line, pushing prices to sit between 5c/kg to 10c/kg dearer than current feedlot quotes in the district.
“This was a very even run, had top-quality genetics and was extremely well-handled which allowed buyers to step in and bid with confidence,” Mr Salter said.
“The organic accreditation of these steers did attract new buyers to the sale, although it was the two main buyers which underpinned the prices.”
WQLX obtained organic certification in 2020, three years after AAM Investment Group (AAM) signed a 30-year lease with the Longreach Regional Council to take over operation and management of the facility.
Since then, the selling centre has undergone a $5 million upgrade which has built towards Wednesday’s sale that marked the return of regular auctions at the facility after a 14-year hiatus, when sales ceased due to drought in 2014
“It is great to be back in business at WQLX,” Mr Salter said.
“There is terrific support from the local vendors, and the new infrastructure and quality of the workmanship on the facility is fantastic – it is a new era for Longreach.”
In total combined agents, Ray White Longreach, Simstock, GDL, Elders Longreach and Nutrien Western, yarded 2995 head of cattle drawn from Winton, Blackall, Barcaldine, Muttaburra and the local region.
The steer price peaked at 722c/kg in the 200kg to 280kg category and the heifer market reached 624c/kg.
Other highlight sales included a Charolais cow pen, drawn from Winton, which topped the heavy-cow price at 340c/kg when averaging 600kg.
Boyd Curran, Nutrien Harcourts Longreach, described the overall results as a “tremendous success” for the return of regular sales to Longreach.
“I congratulate AAM for its investment in the local community and the agriculture industry with this newly upgraded selling centre,” Mr Curran said.
“I always believed, for the Longreach sales to return, AAM needed to have a point of difference, and with this new facility, they have done that and more.
“The facility is outstanding. It might take time for buyers and vendors to adjust to something that is this new and innovative, but with the interactive element and accompaniment of StockLive, Longreach has become a leading facility.
“With the recent record rains, magnificent feed in the paddock, the timing for the relaunch has been perfect. I think the Longreach saleyards will go on to be one of the major selling centres for Australia.”
The focus will now shift to the next WQLX auction, which will be held on 13 July.