A thousand head plus calves made up a large yarding at Grafton’s last sale before Christmas where females led the market up to $1860 for cow and calf units.
Heifers averaged $775, up from $691 in November to top at $1136, or $2 higher than last month’s top.
Cows with calves, sold in open auction, averaged $1425, down slightly from $1447 in November while the top price of $1860, for Brahman-cross out of Mount Jackadgery, exceeded November’s top by $40.
Phil Ensby, Lawrence, sold brindle Brahman-cross cows with Limousin-cross calves, 600kg, to $1840 or $20 below the top price on the day and said there was a reasonable return to be made from cattle bought during last winter’s slow-down and fattened on corn silage and good paddocks.
John Kelemec, Nana Glen, sold Brangus cows with calves out of Roma bulls to $1560.
Heavy bullocks, 400kg to 500kg, averaged 276 cents a kilogram or $1231 to top at $1371, down compared to November’s average of 299c/kg or $1338, perhaps as a result of the the big question mark currently hanging over world protein supply, and end of chain return.
Robert Page, Heifer Station upper Clarence, sold three pens of first cross steers to top at $1350, a bit softer by some 30c/kg on last store sale.
Of course, most producers say they leave the end-of-chain questions to other people and get on with the job of putting kilos on cattle.
“You roll with it,” said Dorrigo Angus producer David Gibson. “Our job is to grow good feed as efficiently as we can; do as good a job as possible.”
Store cattle going back on grass, other than big bullocks, held well enough.
Garry Tarrant, “Coonong”, Glencoe, bought 30 steers, mostly four tooth Angus and Brangus to be grass ahead of export, and said he was happy with his current MSA grid price offered by Wingham above 505c/kg but expressed some surprise at how dear the smaller steers sold to, considering the fat market lagged well behind store sales.
In fact, steers to 400kg averaged 315c/kg or $854 back from November’s average of 322c/kg or $871.
However, there was strong demand for light steers with many going to places with fresh grass like Goondiwindi and even Moree as well as back on the coast.
Lance Timms, Brushgrove, sold five pens of Charolais and Charolais/Angus weaned calves, ‘flashed up’ on self-sown rye and oats to a top of 290c/kg for 392kg to make $1137. His lighter calves, 270kg, made 348c/kg.
Jane Cameron, Watters Road, South Grafton sold Red Angus over Senepol/ Droughtmaster weaners, 188kg, for 402c/kg to bring $758 to well-pleased repeat buyers Peter Lake and Kim McKenna, Gilletts Ridge.