Genetic investment pays off as Southern Qld heifers top at $1900

Eric Barker, 05/09/2023

Julie and Jeremy Shaw with their son Leo at today’s Roma Sale. Photo: Brad Neven

A LARGE run of Angus heifers auctioned at the Roma Saleyards this morning has defied the declining cattle market, averaging $1518/head and topping at $1900.

The Shaw family, from Injune-based JS Grazing, hold an annual weaner sale at the Roma Saleyards to auction off their entire turnoff of Angus heifers – which have been drumming up interest over the past decade.

The 230 heifers sold this year were broken up into seven pens, six of them born between August and September last year and one from March/April. The older pen sold for $1900/head and the younger heifers ranged between $1150 and $1800, returning better than 500c/kg.

Positive story

While the prices were well back on last year’s average of $3112/head, Watkins & Co agent Brad Neven said it was one of the most impressive results in recent times.

“It would have to be one of the dearest sales on the Eastern Seaboard in the past six months,” Mr Neven said.

“The heifer market has been virtually non-existent, we have plenty of heifers here making $1.60 and $1.80/kg, whether they are Angus, Santas or any breed.

“But I think this is a really positive story for the Australian cattle industry.”

Aside from two pens that went to Capella in Central Queensland, most of the heifers stayed within a 250km radius of Roma.

“They’re known to do really well and to be able to come in and buy these cattle at this price was a very opportune purchase,” Mr Neven said.

“It is nothing for them to sell the lead of their Angus cows at 700kg, so that gives you an idea of the growth rates.”

Investment in genetics

The Shaw family sources its genetics from Millah Murrah Angus near Bathurst, for which they have paid up to $50,000 for herd bulls in the past. The commercial herd is run across four properties in the Injune area with females entering the program at 8-10 months and yearling-mated by either joining bulls or artificial insemination.

Mr Neven said the continued investment in quality genetics was paying off.

“When you get a commercial producer spending $50,000 on bulls the results are very exciting,” he said.

“We had about four new buyers this year for the JS cattle, and there seems to be more interest in these cattle each year. We had some stud breeders coming down from Central Qld last year to breed Brangus bulls out of them.”

















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