Prices eased for both steers and heifers at Friday’s Warrnambool July store cattle sale.
Steers weighing 310kgs fetched $3.76c cents a kilogram while 308 kg heifers were in the top range at $3.23 a kg.
Those prices were down on the Warrnmabool June store sale when steers weighing betweeen 300-330kgs made up to $4.04c/kg and heifers 350-440kgs fetched up to $3.92c/kg.
More than 1200 cattle were offered, close to the average for a Warrnambool July store sale.
Agent Glenn Judd from Saffin Kerr Bowen Rodwells said prices eased “in patches by between 20c-30c/kg for both heifers and steers.
“But in the open auction, prices were very firm on last month,” Mr Judd said.
He said Warrnambool’s price drop was in line with that of other cattle markets, with changes to the Chinese beef market and dry conditions in the north putting the brakes on demand.
The crowd was down on the June store sale when nearly 2000 head were offered.
On Friday, the crowd only comprised local, Hamilton, Colac and South Australian buyers and one feedlotter compared to the bigger field of buyers that fronted in June.
But Mr Judd said winter rains in much of the south-west had cattle producers looking forward to a great spring.
Other sales from Friday’s store sale included Pregnancy Tested in Calf (PTIC) cows for up to $1900.
In Friday’s open auction, steers sold from $850-$1090 while cross-bred steers made between $700-$980 and Friesian steers from $560-$840.
Open auction heifers made from $600-$940 and F1 Heifers sold from $1220.
Vendors pleased with their returns from the sale included Matthew Kelly of Port Fairy who sold 23 Angus and Hereford weaned steers, 8-10 months old, for an average of $1100.
Mr Kelly said he had sold because he expected beef prices to drop further.
Another was James Hay of Purnim who sold 28 unweighed 12 month old Angus steers for about $1100 average.
He said he sold because the steers had been weaned and he wanted room for more cattle.
Among the buyers was Andrew North, of Penshurst, who through Kerr & Co agent Robert Claffey, bought 35 spring drop Angus heifers weighing between 240-250kgs for an average of $940.
Mr Claffey said the heifers would be mated in November and kept as breeders.
He said the cattle market had dropped to a more sustainable level after being “overheated previously.”
“The store market was more overheated than the prime market,” Mr Claffey said.
The high prices for store cattle had led him to encourage clients to sell rather than buy until recently, he said.
James Taylor of Framlingham was chuffed at the prices that a customer of his received at the sale.
Mr Taylor sold cows with spring drop calves to the customer in January and was pleased at the 348c/kg paid on Friday for the 14 steers, averaging 334kgs, and the 322c/kg, paid for the 13 heifers, averaging 308kgs.
Three to four years ago, producers would have been lucky to fetch $600-$620 for similar steers, he said.
He said steers at Friday’s open auction sold for about $4/kg.
Indicative prices from Friday’s sale are:
Steers – Draffin Properties, 17 Angus, 464kg, $3.24/kg, $1503; Oblong, 12 Angus, 440kg, $3/kg, $1320; Lynlee, 14 Angus, 478kg, $3.13/kg, $1496; Rosverland Farms, 14 Angus, 465kg, $3.10/kg, $1441; GJ Anders, 20 Angus, 310kg, $3.76/kg, $1165; LE & ML Lloyd; 14 Angus, 334kg, $3.48/kg, $1162
Heifers - Geraki Pastoral, 37 Angus, 405kg, $3.20/kg, $1296; LE & ML Lloyd, 13 Angus, 308kg, $3.23/kg, $994.
PTIC cows – Coffey Partnership, 5 Angus due to calve July 25 onwards, $1900