RECENT rain put a handbrake on supply at the Warrnambool monthly store sale on Friday, with a majority of local cattle contributing to the 1202 head offered.
Local agents said stock from New South Wales drought areas were expected to be offered at the sale but were cancelled due to recent rain across the northern state.
But J&J Kelly principal Jack Kelly said it was a good-sized yarding for this time of year.
“A few people were probably letting a few go that they’d normally send off a bit later,” Mr Kelly said.
The yarding included few heavier steers with much of the yarding being younger and lighter weight steers and heifers.
Agents reported that more crossbred and Friesian steers came forward as producers prepared to lock-up paddocks earlier than usual, as supplementary feed stocks have been heavily depleted over autumn and winter.
A run of 35 heavy Angus steers, offered by Rosverland Farms, Tarrone, were estimated to weigh 387 kilograms, and sold to 297 cents a kilogram, or $1130 a head.
Slightly lighter steers offered by Bookadale, Hawkesdale, sold for 298c/kg, or $1033/head.
Mr Kelly said many of the steers were lighter weights and showed the effects of winter.
“They probably hadn’t had the chance to put on much weight,” he said.
But he said the smaller cattle gave locals more of a chance to buy.
And given their season is “wetter than most”, he said it was the right time for local producers to get involved in the market.
“All indications are pointing towards a good spring, we just need a bit of sun and then some more rain,” he said.
Most medium weight steers sold from $600-$880/head.
Agents quoted the sale as being slightly cheaper on recent sales but attributed this mostly due to the condition of the cattle.
A good crowd attended the market, including buyers from Mount Gambier, SA, and Nhill, with the remainder of the buying gallery representing feedlots and local producers.
The top-priced heavy heifers were offered by Barry Farley, from Toolong, at Warrnambool, and weighed 534kg, and sold for 297c/kg.
Most of the heifers were reported as light in weight and sold from 240-270c/kg, and an estimated $400-$650 for unweighed females.
Crossbred and Friesian steers supplemented the yarding, and included many young steers penned.
A pen of heavy Friesians, weighing 413kg, sold for 158c/kg lwt.
Most of the young steers made between $300-$500.
The best of the cows and calves hit $1660, and were paid for Charolais cows with calves at foot, assessed to be in medium condition, and rejoined to the same bull.
Competition was reasonable for a run of 150 cows and calves, with most selling from $1150-$1660.
Mr Kelly said he anticipated yarding numbers will hold well into the upcoming spring sales.
“Because we haven’t been impacted by the drought, we’ll still have some 350-450kg steers coming through,” he said.