Vendors delight in massive $13 million Ballarat steer sale

Murray Arnel, 21/02/2022


Yarded: 5454

EYCI: 1128c/kg

Feeder rating (versus EYCI): -8pts

Steers: 500-650kg: $2550-$3230, av 528c/kg: 360-500kg $2200-$2880 av 601c/kg; 280-360kg $2100-$2390, av 868c/kg

Marty and Louise Gleeson, Carrahil, Clarendon sold 100 Angus steers, 18 months, Carngham Station and Cluden Newry-blood

The old saying goes “when the circus comes to town it is a must to have a seat in the tent in the fear of missing something special”.

And that saying rang true at Ballarat on Friday when a massive 5454 steer-only yarding met unprecedent demand.

In a yarding that was chocked full of quality and offered heaps of weight, a determined body of buyers dispatched cattle as far north as southern Qld for feeding on grain, and more broadly, across south eastern Australia for finishing and backgrounding on grass.

However due to the enormity of the planned yarding a number of regular vendors admitted not tendering their stock due to the end-of-January easing in the market and consequently went home disappointed.

Likewise, plenty of wanted-to-be-buyers also went home disappointed unwilling to meet the demands of market that rebounded strongly to track the very best of the rates achieved in the spring.

Winslow near Warrnambool cattle traders Owen and Janette O’Keefe sold 95 Ashgrove Angus steers, 18 months, Franc and Barwidgee blood.

Veteran Ballarat agent Leo White, TB White and Sons, said the quality of the breeding and the weight that was offered across the entire yarding was the best that he had seen in his time at the central Victorian market centre.

“It is a reflection of both the bull power our vendors have invested in and the string of good seasons we have had in these parts, Mr White said.

It was credit on both accounts, Mr White said and the buyers bid accordingly.

Watch Beef Central’s post-sale interview with Leo White:

Typical of Ballarat sales, a sizeable selection – about 140 pens- of grown steers, aged 15- 24 months, were represented in the yarding.

At the heaviest end – i.e., steers weighed from 540 to 650kg live – saw South Gippsland bullock finishers play a leading role.

Buoyed by favorable winter forward contracts, a large percentage of the heaviest steers were returned back to grass as the fear of not having market-ready cattle to sell later in the year grows stronger.

Watch the opening sales of grown steers streamed live by Beef Central:

On these sales prices lifted 6-10c/kg lwt or $50 to $80 on the centre’s December sale while the lighter “genuine” feeder weights (450-540kg) rose by an average of 25c/kg live for a $100- $125 a head surge in values.

Major northern feeder operators Mort & Co, Rangers Valley, Teys Wagga Wagga, J&F (JBS) along with Thomas Foods (SA) were the principal drivers of the feeder demand while the heaviest end of the yearling-off and weaner pens experienced a more modest 3-10c/kg lift of $10-$40 a head.

Watch the opening sales of weaner steers streamed live by Beef Central:

Graeme Nicholson, Elders, also concluded heavy steer prices were better than pre-Christmas sales however weaner rates saw little to no change.

The highlight of the sale, Mr Nicholson said was the weight and depth in the quality of the breeding that saw barely a steer sold for less than $2000 a head.

HF Richardson auctioneer, James Haddrick agreed that in pockets, some spring sales may have been dearer but not by much.

“(The sale) opened up very strongly and continued all the way through for all a handful of pens to sell under $2100” Mr Haddrick said.

The demand displayed a lot of confident, Mr Haddrick said.

“A lot of cattle will be trucked north of the border through commission buyer orders, some went to South Australia while the Mort & Co order supported all sections of the sale buying both black and Euro-colored feeders and mid-weighed weaners to background”.

Dunnstown neighbour, Ray Barber and Richard and Jill Glenane compared notes after each sold Angus cattle in the buoyant market.

Mort & Co buyer, Bill Burton, who sources cattle from throughout all eastern states for Mort & Co’s extensive lot feeding operation, praised the quality of the Ballarat steer yarding.

“Not even the great Roma saleyards, which is the mecca of central Qld cattle sales, could match the depth of quality offered here today,” Mr Burton said.

“We’ve secured 18 decks of the wonderfully-bred cattle, some of which will go onto feed in our main Qld lot for specialty orders, some will go for feeding in a southern NSW lot and others will be backgrounded on grass in central NSW” he told Beef Central.

To commence the sale vendor Wirraway sold 15 Angus steers, 608kg at $3010 (490c/kg) followed SJ Mullane & Sons yard of 11 Angus, 635kg, sold at $3190 (502c/kg).

Also, in the opening lane Winter Valley sold a yard of 16 Angus, 567kg, at $2870 (506c/kg) while CM & VJ Faulkner sold 18 Angus, 575kg, at $2930 (510c/kg) with all of the above snapped up by South Gippsland bullock finisher orders.

The market top price of $3240 was shared by a yard of 10 Angus, 632kg offered by R Higgins and a composite of 10 Angus, 652kg, offered by Q Hewitt, SJ Mullane and R Cosgrove.

As the weights declined feedlots assumed control with J&F (JBS) booking 30 Glenthompson Pastoral Angus steers, 525kg, at $2900 (552c/kg) while Teys Wagga purchased 26 Tiarna Angus, 506kg, at $2920 or 577c/kg.

A change of colour to red saw only a minimal dip in intent as Corangamite Park sold 22 Red Angus, 598kg at $2940 (492c/kg) followed by a second yard of 21, 539kg, sold at $2850 (529c/kg).

Similarly, vendor Inverell Nominees sold 26 Hereford steers, 540kg at $2790 (517c/kg) followed by a second yard of 29, 501kg, cleared at $2680 (535c/kg).

A yard of 30 Charolais/Shorthorn steers, 527kg, offered by SJ Blackmore also generated plenty of interest, sold at $2800 (531c/kg).

Large one-mark lines also came under close attention with the Rangers Valley order swooping on a yard of 70 Angus, 464kg, by Carrahil, purchased at $2850 (614c/kg) and 52 Ashgrove Angus, 460kg bought at $2750 (597c/kg).

A second pen of 34 Ashgrove Angus, 431kg, also went on the Rangers Valley truck at $2620 (607c/kg) while Mort & Co selected a second pen of 33 Glenthompson Pastoral Angus, 452kg, at $2700 (597c/kg).

A second yard of 28 Carrahil Angus, 421kg, made $2580 (612c/kg) while 25 Parkland Investments Angus, 413kg, made $2500 (605c/kg).

The weaner run, which contained a large number of first-draft yards that exceeded 400kg was commenced on a pen of 28 E & A Stephens & Sons Angus weighed at 408kg.

These made $2500 while pens of yearling-off aged Angus, by Glennane Bros, 18 480kg and IW & RL Shaw – 18, 454kg were next sold and each made $2700 at 562c/kg and 594c/kg respectively.

A large consignment of 150 Angus, by Fraser Partners, Bo Peep, aged 10 months, Pathfinder and Murdeduke-blood, had a first pen of 22, 402kg, sold at $2460 (611c/kg) with a second yard of 31, 352kg sold at $2340 or (664c/kg).

A third pen of 35, 317kg from the Fraser Partners line made $2150 (678c/kg while a fourth pen of 19, 281kg made $2060 (733c/kg).

Glenn Pretty and daughter, Samantha, sold 95 Wolgan Angus weaners , LKK-blood from their Brewster property, near Ballarat

Glenn Pretty and family, Wolgan, Brewster, sold a lift of 90 Angus, LKK-blood, March/April-drop, with their first pen of 25, 413kg sold at $2480 (600c/kg) while a second yard of 37, 384kg, made $2360 (614c/kg).

WA & KM Blackmore sold 20 Angus, age 10 months, High Spa-blood, at $2570 (579c/kg) while GA Crick & Co, sold 24 Angus, 368kg, Barwidgee-blood, at $2380 (646c/kg).

Bungeeltap P/L, sold at $2430 (623c/kg) a pen of 26 Angus, 390kg, Landfall-blood while Mt Callandar P/L also sold a truck of 90 Angus, LKK-blood, comprising a pen of 20, 378kg, sold at $2380 (630c/kg), 34, 338kg that made $2330 (689c/kg) and 35, 297kg, cleared at $2160 (727c/kg).

Woodlands Romsey was another volume seller offering 75 March/April-drop Angus, Banquet and Adameluca-blood.

Also offered over three drafted lots these secured prices of $2390 (662c/kg), 361kg; $2270 (705c/kg), 322kg and $2060 (733c/kg) at 281kg.

The 5454-head market, which was the third in its annual February series, was completed within four-hours by selling agents TB White & Sons, Elders, HF Richardson, Charles Stewart and Nutrien Ag.

Nutrien Livestock will this Friday, February 25, conduct its own stand-alone 49th annual sale where another 5500 grown steers and heifers and mixed sex weaners have been nominated.


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