Strong start to western VIC weaner sales + pictures

Terry Sim, 12/01/2017

WESTERN Victoria’s feature beef weaner sales have started strongly this week, with solid competition from processors, bullock finishers, interstate buyers and district restockers.

Initial sales at Hamilton in Victoria’s Western District have lifted producer returns by $200-$300 a head above 2016 prices for young Angus steers, with many drafts averaging heavier than last year, up 10-20kg.

Kerr and Co Livestock auctioneer Zac Van Wegen sells Raheen's 24 288kg Angus steers for 427 cents a kg or $1230 at Hamilton. (1)

Kerr and Co Livestock auctioneer Zac Van Wegen sells Raheen’s 24 288kg Angus steers for 427c/kg or $1230 at Hamilton.

At Hamilton in the private agents’ sale on Monday, competition on the heavier black steers 350kg-plus was strongest from major processors JBS and Thomas Foods International, showing a preference for grassfed and EU-accredited cattle. Support came from South Australian, New South Wales, central Victorian and Gippsland stock agencies, and district bullock fatteners. Feedlot competition was limited.

The heavier steers sold generally from 355-396c/kg or from $1300 a head up to $1644, for 23 435kg steers from Torbank Angus. The top price per kilogram liveweight for steers over 350kg of 396c/kg was paid for the Coffey Partnership’s 87 367kg Angus weaners.

Victorian and interstate restockers and their agents were more active on 300-350kg steers, with the additional weight in drafts meaning few cattle under 300kg as in recent years. The 300-350kg steers sold from 386-419c/kg or from $1227 to $1396 a head for the Cameron family’s big line of 105 349kg Athlone steers that made 400c/kg.

Athlone’s offering of 192 Angus steers this year averaged $1390 at the sale, $285 higher than the 2016 average. The Athlone line-up included 40 389kg steers that made 367c/kg or $1428 a head.

“It was a very good sale,” Henry Cameron said. His son, Damian, said this year was “a seller’s market, not a buyer’s market.”

“You’ve just to hope that the fellows who have paid this money get the returns, otherwise it is not going to be real good for the industry.”

“You’ve just to hope that the fellows who have paid this money get the returns, otherwise it is not going to be real good for the industry.”

Angus steers under 300kg generally sold for 390-227c/kg, but up to 433c/kg for a line of 37 283kg Athlone South weaners. Black baldy steers 300-400kg sold for 371-410c/kg.

Athlone South principals Roland and Susan Cameron and agent LMB Linke also offered the best presented line in the sale – 11 363 Angus steers that sold for 375c/kg or $1380 a head, to JBS.

At theHamilton weaner sale,fromleft, Mick McMeel, Susan and Rowland Cameron and son Andrew, and visiting-friend Colin Torney.

At the Hamilton weaner sale, from left, Mick McMeel, Susan and Rowland Cameron and son Andrew, and visiting-friend Colin Torney.

Mr Cameron dedicated the sale of his family’s Athlone South steers to his late father and mentor Rex, and to his former stock agent, LMB Linke director Terry McMeel. His father and Mr McMeel passed away late last year 2016.

Mr Cameron said the two men had played influential roles in his life and he was eager to see them remembered for their contributions to the Athlone South operation and to the beef industry.

Terry McMeel was a reliable and selfless agent, who was also a very loyal friend, and well-known for his diligent and tireless work ethic, he said.

“Terence McMeel’s true gift was his people skills and his ability to endear himself to those people he came in contact with. He was just a great person to have in your corner.”

Mr Cameron said his father was a resourceful and inventive farmer, recognised on a number of occasions for the best pen of steers at the Mortlake weaner sales.

“My father had an extremely strong work ethic, and his word was his bond. He was a true gentleman and a proud family man being married to wife Janet for 60 years.”

“I’m eager to see them (Rex and Terry) acknowledged when we are being acknowledged in such a positive way with the pen of best steers,” Mr Cameron said.

Mr Cameron said he was fully supportive of Terry’s son Mick McMeel following in his father’s footstep as a stock agent.

“I wish him all the best and he was a great help in preparation of the weaners.”

Mick McMeel said he appreciated Mr Cameron’s gesture and looked forward to working with the Cameron family in the future.

Athlone South sold 256 steers for an average of $1370 this week.

“The result for me is difficult to comprehend,” Mr Cameron said. “We had an average of approximately $1220 last year, when they were sold on farm by Terry McMeel for 350c/kg.

“On recollection, it is three years since we last sold at the weaner sale where we had the highest cents per kg price at 199c. The per-head price then was approximately $700.”

Lanyons auctioneer Warren Clark said the cattle sold as expected, and were equal to sales at other centres so far this year.

“You would have been disappointed if it was cheaper, but we don’t want it any dearer,” he said.

JM Ellis auctioneer Jack Hickey opens Hamilton's first 2017 weaner sale, selling Angus steers for 360-383c/kg or $1459-$1604 a head.

JM Ellis auctioneer Jack Hickey opens Hamilton’s first 2017 weaner sale, selling Angus steers for 360-383c/kg or $1459-$1604 a head.

Kerr and Co Livestock auctioneer Craig Pertzel said the sale was as expected, considering the extra weight in the steers this year, with the processors buying about a third of the yarding, with JBS seeking to secure supply for its Longford, Tasmania plant.

“There were plenty of blokes here (Monday and Tuesday) to buy the little cattle, but the cattle weren’t so ‘little’ and the price was probably too good for them,” he said.

“There are no lines of 250-270kg cattle.”

Heavy steers top 400c/kg on Tuesday

At the Elders and Landmark sale for black weaners on Tuesday, similar prices were generally paid across the yarding. The 350kg-plus steers made 352-403c/kg or from $1340 a head up to $1600 for Chelma’s 20 442kg steers. Bundoran’s line of 60 360kg EU-accredited black steers was the best presented pen in the yarding and sold for 403c/kg or $1451 a head.

The 300-350kg Angus steers sold for 370-421c/kg, or from $1264 a head up to $1392 for Wandooma’s 21 317kg steers that sold for 405c/kg to Ray White Emms Mooney, NSW. District buyer Charlie Mann bought Bundoran’s line of 111 326kg EU-accredited calves for the top cents/kg price of 421c/kg, or $1372 a head.

Processors JBS, TFI, Alex Scott and Staff Pakenham and Elders Holbrook again dominated the heavier drafts, with competition from Gippsland’s Landmark Leongatha, South Australian restockers and Ray White Emms Mooney, NSW, Landmark Molong and some district restockers operating mainly on medium and lighter calves.

The happy Young family, from Nevflo, Caramut, at the Hamilton weaner sales -Picture - Tracey-Kruger.

The happy Young family, from Nevflo, Caramut, at the Hamilton weaner sales -Picture – Tracey-Kruger.

Caramut’s Young family sold 131 of their Nevflo Angus and black baldy calves for an average of $1354 at the sale, about $230 higher than last year’s average. The family’s offering included 98 Angus calves that made 390-426c/kg, or $1173-$1433 a head, for an average of $1374. Their 33 black baldies made 393-424c/kg, or $1197-$1358, for an average of $1294.

“It’s phenomenal that the prices have been so good,” Nigel Young said.

“It’s where we would love it to be, but I’m not sure it can be sustained.”

Elders’ clients’ cattle sold for an average of $1363 or up to $1600 in the Tuesday sale, for an average of 392c/kg. The agency’s offering averaged 347kg liveweight.

Elders Hamilton auctioneer Aaron Malseed said reports indicated Tuesday’s heavy steers were slightly dearer than earlier in the week.

“We were absolutely rapt the way it went.”

Competition on the lighter calves was dominated by northern buyers, limiting local restocker purchases, he said. Mr Pascoe said there was a premium for EU cattle, but only on the better drafts and up to 10c/kg.

Landmark auctioneer Kieran Johnstone said the buyers on Tuesday seemed more prepared to pay 400-plus c/kg for better bred and EU-accredited drafts.

“I reckon there was probably a 10-12c/kg premium for some EU cattle,” he said.

  • Western District agents at Hamilton and Casterton will sell about 22,000 British bred and Euro cross steer and heifer weaners this week.




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