The last store sale at Grafton for 2018 gave little indication of where the market will head in the new year, as most buyers sat on the fence while waiting for rain – which came in buckets only two days later.
As a result prices were down on November, which had recorded a fall from the October high - inspired by a good spring start over the whole of the North Coast. Since then feed has fallen to the point where producers are beginning to offload stock.
Of the more than 800 head yarded, steers to 400 kilograms made up half the yarding, 420 head, selling from 138 cents a kilogram to 328c/kg to average 265c/kg or $737 (291c/kg or $832 in November).
Grown steers 400 to 500kg (111 head) sold from 204c/kg to 300c/kg averaging 266c/kg or $1174, down from 281c/kg and an average of $1234 last month.
Lower river producers with grass took advantage of prices with Brian and Charlie Killmore, Kinchela, Lower Macleay, coming away with the highest price paid on the day, bidding a bit more than $1500 for Angus cross store bullocks, 630kg at 238c/kg. They paid $1464 for six tooth Brahman cross bullocks, 522kg at 280c/kg.
Great Marlow producer Laurie Vanderbilt bought more for slightly less, paying up to $1304 for Santa/ Angus cross, 475kg at 274c/kg. Ross and Tracey Lawson were back in the market, each paying $1083 for Angus/ Murray Grey cross – one at 458kg and the other at 487kg.
Gordonbrook Station sold Angus cross steers, 452kg at 282c/kg or $1276 going to Bindaree Beef.
Tom Krista, Paslow, Nana Glen, sold Friesan dairy bullocks, 498kg, for 204c/kg or $1018 to Laurie Vanderbilt with Eliezerjiah Robinson, Coramba, the underbidder.
Allan Cavanaugh, Dorrigo, bought light steers, 157kg at 304c/kg or $479, and will grow them out on highly improved pasture at 10 to the hectare, although just at the moment the emerald isle in the sky is going yellow from lack of rain.
Heifers to 500kg, 181 head, sold from 140 to 260 to average 207c/kg or $538, (215c/kg or $554 in November).
Dee and Izak Van Niekerk, Mt Jackadgery Station, offloaded weaners as a result of declining feed and a poor rain forecast, selling heifers to a top of $681 for Charolais/ Brahman cross 218kg at 312c/kg.
Geoff Anderson, Woodford Island, sold pure Charolais hiefers, 263kg at 270c/kg for $711, with them travelling to St George, Qld through Landmark.
Tracey Conroy, Newbold Grange, Pulginbar sold Charolais/ Brahman cross, 259kg at 302c/kg to make $782 going to Trevor and Nancy Commerford, Woodford Island.
Bruce Drury, Southgate, sold milk tooth Angus, 304kg at 230c/kg for $700 going through Ray White, Armidale.
Cows with calves sold firm on open auction, making $983 to a top of $1500 while last month they returned an average of $989 to a top of $1560.
Chris Hallam, Calliope, bought the highest priced cow and calf, Charolais first calvers from Wayne Vicary for $1500.
Mr Hallam, who also paid up to $1380 for a Brahman cow with a Santa calf, said while he’s got grass on his lower river property, the soil profile is unusually hard and dry.