Weaners pointing the way for prices
FARMING has always been an interesting industry and when I heard during the week the widespread thunderstorms and heavy rain through Victoria and NSW had affected many farmers it brought back memories of my own long gone farming days.
The rains were a great boost to late pastures and fodder crops and in turn encouraged restockers back into the cattle markets throughout eastern Australia. This put a solid floor the prices of yearling cattle, which have been struggling for the past few months.
On the other hand there are grain growers who have lost entire crops or have had their grain downgraded because of the rain.
Some cherry growers have also had major hail damage through northern Victoria and the Riverina in NSW.
It is that time of the year when we start looking forward to the weaner-calf sales in western Victoria. They start in the first week of January to give us Tasmanians an idea of where our own autumn sale prices will sit.
The first of the fair-dinkum weaner sales took place at Yea in central Victoria last Friday.
The yarding was mostly February, March or April drop weaners with reports indicating weights were every bit as good as last year.
With no scales in operation, agents estimated most steers worked out between 340c/kg and 365c/kg liveweight with an average price of $1136 per head over 1006 steers. The reports indicated the lighter calves did not make any more money per kilo than the heavier ones, which is very unusual. This average is believed to be around $225 per head cheaper than last year’s incredible sale.
There were not as many heifers as more producers are keeping females as breeders. Heifers were selling from $800 to $1050 per head.
One interesting report out of the Yea sale was that there was basically no Gippsland competition. Most bullock finishers are not satisfied with current prices and so are keeping their current stock to put more weight on them.
Locally, bullock prices are struggling and at the northern Midlands saleyards on Tuesday it took a very good bullock to get above 250c/kg with the top price only $1688 per head.
At Quoiba on Wednesday bullocks sold from 254c/kg to 276c/kg, with a top quote of $1771 per head.
Although the top pen were bought by exporters, most of the strength came from local butchers.
Things will be interesting over the next few weeks with limited kill space available at both Tasmanian beef-processing works.
Luckily most cattle-finishing areas of the state are experiencing very good seasonal conditions, although these very hot days have browned things off in parts. It is always interesting times in the livestock industry.