Some 2150 head presented at Tenterfield saleyards on Thursday with a swag of buyers bringing good competition to a sale swollen with calves offloaded a month earlier than usual.
Milton Barratt's Lyndale Partnership, Swamp Oak, Tenterfield, topped the auction with Angus steers showing excellent frame, 315 kilograms, making 310.2 cents kilogram and going to Bob Jamieson Agencies, Inverell, whose agent Keiran te Velde said those steers would stay local and go on supplementary feed.
"Pray for rain," he added.
The Barratt's Angus heifers, 280kg, made 230c/kg.
Jeff Johnson, "Geroma" east of Tenterfield, sold Angus steers at 289kg making 305.2c/kg.
George and Helen Mulherin, Tenterfield, sold Angus steers 264kg to 294.2c/kg or $776 going to Inverell through BJA. they sold Angus heifers, 267kg for 220c/kg.
"We've had to feed our cattle," said Mr Mulherin, commented on the unprecedented summer season. Like many producers he sold round bales of millet and sorghum silage for a fair price before last winter thinking there would be enough feed in the shed to last the drought. Just recently he purchased round bales of Lucerne for more than twice that price while stock water now becomes a worrying priority.
Michael Hurtz, Timbarra via Tenterfield, sold 180 Angus/ Brangus steers, the top pen 253kg at 297.2c/kg, also going to Inverell.
Mr Hurtz presented his calves to auction a month earlier than normal. He is also in the process of culling breeding cows from 250 to 180.
"We’ve had no rain all summer. We’re feeding cattle now in February. I’ve bought hay in the last six weeks but even on the best maths it won’t get through winter. You can’t feed for eight months and that’s assuming we get a spring.
"All old cows will go whether they are in calf or not. Some younger heifers will get second chance. Keeping ptic younger cows.
"The price on Thursday was good. There was competition, particularly for the heifers, but the weight was down and that was a reflection of the season.
Brian and Jen and Nick Lanz, "Yarramundi" Deepwater sold Angus steers 230kg to 307.2c/kg.
Brian Chapman, "Ellenthorpe" Tenterfield sold Angus steers 210kg at 281c/kg to Tenterfield High School's successful agricultural program.
Allan Sweeney, Rocky River sold milk tooth Angus with Texas blood, 315kg at 247.2c/kg, going direct to West Talgai feedlot at Allora, Qld.
His brother David Sweeney, Billirimba Road, sold the last of his Devon cattle bred in the family for the past 100 years with steers, 184kg, making 204.2c/kg and going to Winton, Qld through commission buyer Brad Parkins, Macksville who bought 400 head on the day - all going to north Queensland.
"I've go no choice but to sell," he said. "I've got no grass. We've only had easterly winds all summer and no rain. But it could be worse."
Leo Hurtz, postmaster at Boonoo Boonoo on the Mount Lindsay road was forced to sell after recent fires burnt-out three quarters of his property, with Angus steers 208kg making 206.2c/kg.
About 100 head at the sale were present because they were fire affected.