ALMOST $20 million dollars has exchanged hands this week at beef saleyards throughout western district weaner sales in Victoria.
Lauded as the “best in a lifetime” series, the seven sales held at Hamilton, Casterton and Colac sold more than 14,300 weaner steers for an estimated $1369 average.
“I don’t know if you’ll ever see another year like it,” Paul Malseed said, "Orana", Breakaway Creek near Hamilton.
Numbers were slightly shorter than last year’s offering with 8127 steers sold at Hamilton averaging $1369, equivalent to 384 cents a kilogram.
The Malseed family sold 186 Hereford steers, predominantly Yarram Park blood, for an av $1340 per head.
This year’s prices have been the best ever paid for the Malseed cattle since the Hamilton series began 50 years ago.
“You only have to go back three sales to remember when prices cracked 230c/kg and people thought that was exciting,” Mr Malseed said.
“We were more than happy last year when we av $1200/hd and we didn’t think we were going to put another $100 on our average this year but that is where the market is.”
A Fairfax Media analysis of the market showed cattle which exceeded 360kg and weighed to a top of 442kg, which was the majority of the yarding, sold to a top of $1644, and av $1442, or 372c/kg.
Lighter steers, 280-360kg, av $1295, or 397c/kg, with less than one handful of pens in each yarding weighed under 280kg.
“Never heavier, never dearer, never happier,” Marcus Winter-Cooke, Murndal, Tahara, said.
Across the four yardings, the Hamilton steers av 356kg which was about 17 kilograms more than last year’s weights, according to Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange manager Chris Dahlenburg.
“The extra weight and increase in per kilo price will tap these cattle out at a very smart dollar per head rate,” Kerr and Co auctioneer Craig Pertzel said.
“If you haven’t got $1200 these days you’re not going to buy anything but a few tail-enders.”
The extra weights have impacted major buyers from northern NSW and southern Queensland buyers from firing significant shots.
Owner of the Ben Ken cattle rest stop, Deniliquin, NSW, otherwise known as the Cattery, Tom Carroll told Fairfax Media there had been a major difference in the cattle numbers travelling north compared to last year.
After the first week of selling he had received on 1400 head, bound for central and Northern NSW destinations, whereas last year he had received 4000 for this same period.
Two of the nation’s biggest beef processors were out in force, with JBS Australia a major buyer with about 2000 steers purchased and Thomas Foods International about 850 predominantly EU-cattle.
The JBS consignment was earmarked for processing at its Longford Tasmania beef plant.
The steers will initially be agisted for grass backgrounding to help secure the plant’s winter supply.