Wean­ers point­ing the way for prices

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT - Richard Bai­ley

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.

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