Murray Arnel sale reports and videos

Mountain calf sales Day 2: Steers, heifers crack $2000/head | PICS + Video

Murray Arnel, 05/03/2021

The picturesque Ensay Saleyards still surrounded by green grass at the end of summer

SOUTHERN Australia’s many cattle pasture feeding regions were well represeted by buyers on Day 2 of the East Gippsland Mountain Calf sales where white-faced Herefords were the featured breed.

With two sales held on the day – one at Ensay and the other at Omeo- restocker/finishers from South and West Gippsland, the Yarra and north east valleys and the Colac-Otway regions put up stronger resistance against the might of feedlot and over-the-border NSW and SA orders that held sway and dominated the first day of selling.

The second-day of markets, although slightly off the pace of the opening sales, still returned never-before-seen-prices which overall averaged a whisker under $1800 a head for the day and saw several yards of steers and one pen of heifers crack the magical $2000/head mark.

Recapping the day’s selling at both the Ensay and Omeo outlets, auctioneer Morgan Davies, Elders said although sales were slightly easier, they receded from some fairly extreme highs.

“The Benambra sales (Tuesday) was supported by repeat buyer orders that prefer to purchase their cattle from the higher altitudes, and the cattle were that little bit fresher” Mr Davies said.

“And, the cattle that didn’t carry the bloom the demand was a bit more minimized but not extensively perhaps $20 to $30 a head less”.

“It is exciting times when the top drafts are making $1900 to $2000 and the bullock guys are paying it and still getting a decent margin”.

Watch the Beef Central’s full post-sale interview with Morgan Davies:


– Yarded 977 head, average $1757.44, Steers to $2010, heifers to $1940

Philip (Bluey) Commins, with his Nunniong-blood Hereford steers and a smile on his face after having enjoyed a after-better year than the last few.

An exceptional display of heavily boned, rich red-coated Hereford steers drew bids mainly between $1750 and $2000 a head at the Ensay leg of the East Gippsland Mountain sales.

Repeat bullock-finisher buyers from South Gippsland, Yea, King Island and the southern NSW slopes completed with lot feeders from the Riverina and South Australia to produce a selling rate based on 465 to 500c/kg for the heaviest drafts, and 500 to 550c/kg for lighter pens down to 300kg.

On a number of drafts indicative weights were displayed however it was declared these were formed on a full (non-curfewed) weight basis a week prior to the sale.

The sale was commenced on a yard of 15-month-old Hereford yearling-off steers weighed at 465Kg.

Offered by RA & W Newcomen, this pen of six made $1990 while, in pen No.2, BC & AJ Newcomen sold 17 Hereford weaners, age 10-11-months, (422kg) at $1970.

Reece Newcomen weaned his Hereford calves onto green grass for the first time in four years

EO & DI Newcomen then sold 22 Hereford weaners (420kg) at $1940 while, in pen No.5, RA & W Newcome sold their first yard of genuine weaner age steers (414kg) at $1980.

The sale’s ultimate top, of $2010 a head, was paid two pens later with the selling of the best presented yard – an award perpetuated in honour and respected for former Elders Shepparton staffer, the late Tony Pianto, who was a great supporter of the Ensay sale leg.

This pen of 16 (416kg) was sold by CR & JH Lloyd to King Island bidder, Ian Lester while a second yard of the Lloyd Hereford steers (375kg) made $1910.

Sales of heifers mostly rolled between $1530 and $1870 or 600 to 600c/kg with two highly sought-after breeder pens sold at $1900 and $1940.

The top priced heifers, sold at $1940, was an eye-catching yard of Hereford-Shorthorn (Roan Baldies, estimated 330kg) by EO & DI Newcomen while PJ (Bluey) Commins sold, at $1900, a yard of 16 pure Hereford heifers, Nunniong-blood.


– Yarded 1127, average $1813.84, steers to $2180, heifers to $2180

The Elders selling team saw members from three states travel to lend a hand

The final leg of these East Gippsland Mountain sales was held at what is fondly referred to in the Mountains as “Hereford headquarters”.

However, after being savaged by bushfires last year on the back of four years of severe drought, numbers for this year’s fixture were heavily reduced to 1127 head compared to normal 2500-head offerings in prior years.

Brendan Ahsam, wife Tracy, daughter Indi and granddaughter Ella (12 weeks), pictured with pens of the Ahsam family’s highly regarded Roan Baldy steers.

Elders Omeo branch manager, David Hill said that due to the above dire circumstance the number of breeding cows now held in the Omeo districts were significantly reduced.

“Without cows you can’t produce calves” Mr Hill said.

“But with the return of some improved seasonal conditions a herd rebuilding phase was now underway across the region, consequently a lot of heifers had been retained.

The cattle offered he said had responded well to an early autumn-break, milder winter and cooler summer conditions coming forward with more weight than usual.

Mr Hill said the overall result of this year’s sale series would inject substantial money and confidence into the whole of the mountain community. However, a lot of producers many who had invested heavily into fodder for herd survival over the past four years would use this opportunity for some debit reduction.

Topping Omeo sale-leg was Peter & Cath McCoy, McCoy Farms, who suffered significant damage 12 months ago in the district’s wildfires.

Their yard of 25 Hereford steers, estimated 430kg, made $2050 a head while PC & FG Faithfull sold a yard of 35 (420Kg) at $2000.

PJ McCoy and his sister Cath with their first-pen steers sold at $2050

A second pen of the Faithfull steers (estimated 380kg) made $1970 while a second pen of the McCoy Farm steers (estimated 350kg) made $1900.

A third vendor to crack the $2000/head sale was RE & C Foster with a pen of 18 (estimated 400kg) while AJ & BJ Ahsam sold 29 Roan baldies (estimated 420kg) at $2010.

A second pen of the Ahsam family Hereford steers (est. 420kg) made $1970, with a third pen of 22 Herefords (est. 350kg) sold at $1960.

Also in the front lane of sales, S & SN Lawlor were rewarded with a price of $1950 for 32 Herefords estimated at 400kg.

With these estimated weights, the heaviest drafts were assessed with a selling rate of 465 to 500c/kg while most mid-weighted calves, 320-360kg, returned estimated values to 570c/kg.

Watch the opening lane of sales at Omeo:

With the districts herd rebuilding phase in full swing, the demand for future breeders rose to another level as quality pens of well-bred heifers frequently sold from $1800 for a top end sale of $2180.

The heifer toppers were another eye-catching yard of Hereford-Shorthorn forwarded to the market by AJ & BJ Ahsam.

The Ahsam yard of 20 was purchased to fore filled a life-long dream of Leo Kelly, of Edenhope, Vic, to own and breed from a quality line of Mountain-bred Roan Baldy females.

A second yard of the Ahsam Roan baldies made $1910 while PC & CG Faithfall sold a pen of 22 Hereford heifers at $2030.

Meeting of dreams: Bert Ahsam, Omeo, has spent a lifetime breeding Hereford Shorthorn cattle and Leo Kelly, of Edenhope, has dreamed for much of his life of owning and breeding from such cattle. The pair met for the first time on the Mountain at Omeo with Mr Kelly paying $2180 for the Ahsam family Roan Baldies

Other to crack the $1900/head heifer price threshold were: S & SN Lawlor- 18 Herefords sold at $1960 while the Ahsam family sold 12 Hereford heifers at $1900.

Most other pens of lighter weight heifers, 260-280kg, fetched prices from $1600 to $1680 a head in a small offering of 362 that averaged $1756.24 per head.



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