Feeders and interstate buyers clean up at annual Mortlake feature spring sale

Murray Arnel, 05/11/2021
  • With feeder buyers and interstate restockers bidding as “if their lives depended on it” and more than 60 percent of cattle selling outside the State of Victoria, the annual Mortlake spring sale late last week was one that will long be remembered. Unfortunately this report is coming to you several days after Murray supplied it to us. As tempting as it may be to blame technical issues or gremlins in the system, the delay is due to one thing only – the ineptitude of this editor. We apologise for taking so long to bring you this report, but even belatedly, it was a sale well worthy of acknowledgment – James Nason, co-publisher)


Yarding: 2994

EYCI: 1065

Feeder Rating: +14c

Steers: +500kg $2828-$3234, av 537c/kg: 360-500kg $2200-$2888, av 596c/kg; 280-360kg $1850-$2342, av 658c/kg

Heifers: +500kg $2302-$2758, av 496c/kg; 360-500kg $1818-$2354, av 523c/kg; 280-360kg $1742-$2256, av 632c/kg

WITH the EYCI again in record territory, lot feeders and interstate backgrounders carved a hefty sway through the Elders Kerr & Co feature spring store cattle at WVLX (Mortlake saleyards) on Thursday, trucking two-thirds of 2944-strong grown cattle penning out of the state of Victoria.

Elders Kerr & Co auctioneer Zac van Wegen said it was an awesome display of competitive bidding by lot feeders in particular.

“It was on fire. They bid if their lives depended on it,” he told Beef Central.

“It was awesome, a very special day and one that will be long remembered”.

Mr van Wegen said the quality of the yarding – as an annual blue-ribbon feature – was also very special as it contained many large drafts of breeder’s cattle from some of the best herds in the Western District.

Black Angus cattle, as usual, dominated the penning but there were also some very special lines of Hereford and Grey cattle with a large percentage– about a third – offered with (EU) accreditation.

“On the heavy end of the feeder line, sales went to within a hare’s breath of $6/kg while at the lighter end bidding rose to $6.30/kg and more in place” Mr van Wegen said.

Outcross operations manager, Peter Brooker said that online bidding action via the AuctionsPlus platform was some of the most active he had experienced.

Engaged by WVLX to collate its weekly and monthly sales and monitor the online bidding, Mr Brooker said the bidding from online was very responsive but more so on the Hereford and heifers cattle than the Angus.

“I’d say it wasn’t a big crowd by regular WVLX store sale standards” Mr Brooker said.

“That was possibly because of the dominance of the grown cattle and the lack of smaller weaner cattle suited to the local restockers but the bidding was just as intense”.

And the representation of areas to where the cattle were trucked was quite unique, Mr Brooker said.

“Plenty went to South Australia, northern and southern NSW while Gippsland, Geelong, Camperdown and the northeast were the keenest of the Victorian support” he said.

With the opening lane loaded with heavy 18-24-month-old grown steers offering weights from 550 to 650kg, feedlot operators Hopkins River Pastoral, Thomas Foods International and JBS Swift’s J&F Feedlots set a cracking pace claiming 13 of the first 14 falls of the hammer.

Successful bidding for these units ranged between $4.60- and $5.30-a kilogram for non-accredited lots and $5,30 to $5.62/kg for the EU-accredited.

Best sales at these weights included a yard of 35 Angus, 648kg sold at $4.70 to return $3045 for RS Blackwell while Coolana Rural sold an EU-accredited pen of 20 Angus, 575kg, at $5.62 to return the market top of $3234.

A pen of 16 Black Baldy steers, 566kg, by PJ & JL Groves made 566c/kg to realize $3166 a head.

When weights decline to levels near 500kg and below, feeder orders for Teys Australia Charlton and Jindalee feedlots kicked into gear along with Princess Royal Feedlot, SA, Australian Food and Fibre, Conargo, NSW and on the lighter end Colac feeder, Alistair Nelson.

Offering a consignment of 117 head as Tourac, Colin Goldsworthy sold 17 EU Angus, 506kg at $6.02/kg or $3025, vendor Prestonholme sold 27 Angus, 500kg at $5.65/kg for $2828/head while JR&JM Murphy received $5.98/kg or $2888 a head for 27 EU Angus, 483kg.

At the lighter end of the feeder weights, a second yard 49 Tourac EU Angus, 423kg, was bid to $6.16/kg or $2606, JW & CK McMahon sold 49 Angus, 428kg at $$6.08 or $2601 while JA & CA Craig “Inverell” sold 34 EU Angus, 397kg at $6.36 or $2525.

Several large feature lines were included in the annual yarding.

The Boyd family, Minhamite, sold 135 head of 16–18-month-old “Greenhills” Murray Grey steers, with EU accreditation.

Secured by repeat buyer, Princess Royal, these were sold in three drafts of: 25 head, 501kg, $5.74/kg; 71 head, 479kg, $5.82/kg and 39 head, 435kg, $5.98/kg to average $2722/head overall.

Hutton Partnership was a volume seller of Hereford steers.

Aged 16-18-months with an average weight of 447kg, these were sold in five drafted lots to deliver a top-end price of $2644 a head (475kg) for an overall sale average of $2551.

Another volume vendor of Hereford steers, aged 16-18-months was McRae Trading Trust trading as Olangolah.

Offering 95 head, average 436kg, these were sold three yards to $2823 (511kg) for a sale average of $2505.

In the spring-drop steer section successful bids were mostly made north of $5.60/kg for the heaviest lots, rising to $7.56/kg for the lighter end.

Several major lot feeders remained in the mix for pens weighed upwards of 350kg while restocker orders spanning the three southern states contested the lighter drafts.

Weerangourt Partnership was a principal seller of young steers with a consignment of 83 Angus with EU accreditation.

Averaged 350kg, the main Weerangourt sales included a pen of 38, 357kg, sold at $6.56/kg or $2342 and 27 head, 296kg, sold at $7.04/kg for $2083.

Draffen Properties, Hexham was also a major seller of Angus young steers, with 94 head sold average 286kg.

Main sales included a pen of 20, 357kg, sold at $6.44/kg or $2302, 22 head, 317kg, sold at $6.98/kg for $2216 and 27 head, 255kg sold at $7.32/kg or $1870.

Other sales of interested included Blythwood Pastoral, 32 Angus, 450kg sold at $2750, Rosevale Ridge, 20 Charolais, 435kg sold at 435kg or $2479, Naweenda Partnership- 31 Angus, 326kg, $6.90/kg ($2250), Malseed and Richardson 21 Hereford, 338kg, 644/kg ($2178) and Ardonachie Holdings – 22 Angus, 270kg, $7.50/kg ($2046).

In the heifer yards a sizeable number were offered with weights that exceeded 500kg.

These made $4.40 to $5.25/kg with the best result going to Barwidgee Pastoral with a yard of 15 EU Angus, 564kg that returned $2878 a head.

Back in the weights, JR & JM Murphy sold 23 Angus, 444kg, at $5.30/kg ($2350) and a second pen of 13, 398kg, at $5.66/kg or $2253.

A yard of 32 Greenhills Murray Grey heifers, 412kg, received bids to $5.46 ($2249) while JA & CK Craig “Inverell” sold 16 Hereford, 432kg, at $5/kg ($2161).

Younger spring-drop heifers were hot property especially for the larger lines from renowned herds.

Weerangourt Partnership sold 22 Angus, Weeran-blood, 352kg at $6.40/kg or $2252/head. Eulo Pastoral sold 36 Angus, Barwidgee-blood, 330kg, at $6.42/kg ($2118) while a second yard of 37 Weerangourt Angus, 311kg, made $6.60/kg ($2053).

And as weights dipped further below 280kg bids rose above $7/kg to rest at $7.74.

Better sales at these weights were Ardonachie Holdings- 37 Angus, Te Mania-blood, 260kg, sold at $7.38/kg ($1922) while a second Ardonachie yard of 37, 234kg, made $7.74/kg for $1811.


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