ANNUAL weaner sales across the north of the state have been brought forward in response to the deteriorating season this year.
An estimated 17,000 weaner steers and heifers will go under the hammer at Gunnedah, Tamworth, Tenterfield and Glen Innes later this week.
Tamworth Livestock Selling Agents Association president Chris Paterson, said while numbers at Friday’s Tamworth sale would be similar to previous years some vendors had already been forced to offload their weaners early.
"We’ve already seen a lot of good weaners come through Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange this year," he said.
"Some of those calves would normally be sold later, but many people have been forced to offload early as they’ve run out of feed and water," he said, adding that many vendors were also selling heifers they would usually retain.
Davidson Cameron and Company (DCC) livestock sales representative Tom Tanner said the Powerhouse Liveweight Weaner Sale in Gunnedah on Thursday would be great opportunity for buyers to get their hands on some quality stock.
Despite tough conditions related to dry-weather, Mr Tanner was optimistic there would be plenty to offer buyers who would travel from interstate.
“While the eastern seaboard is experiencing pretty bad drought, we’re still expecting plenty of buyers from Queensland, southern NSW and Victoria in areas that have been lucky enough to have had some rain and generally support the Powerhouse sale each year,” he said
DCC general manager Luke Scicluna said buyers should be on the lookout for strong heifers with good genes.
“There will be lines of opportunity with good quality heifers which are normally retained and kept as breeders,” Mr Scicluna said.
Meanwhile, the store sales in the south have also been a top opportunity for buyers prepared to take a punt on the season turning sooner rather than later.
Values at Wodonga generally held firm last Thursday, although much of the cattle were in good store to prime condition.
Paull and Scollard Landmark livestock agent Tim Robinson said the key to the sale was in getting a good result for vendors who had done a fantastic job in presenting their stock in good condition.
“It was a positive outcome in a very tough time when we are seeing the prime market slipping dramatically,” he said.
“There were opportunities for those people who were brave enough to buy.”
Mr Robinson said farmers need to be recognised and acknowledged for their commitment to feeding and looking after their cattle through a very tough time.
“They deserve congratulations and a pat on the back for presenting their stock in the condition they are,” he said.
Prime stock prices tumbled further this week on the back of last week’s record breaking yardings.
At the end of trading on Tuesday the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) was on 385.25 cents a kilogram (carcase weight). That’s now 177c/kg lower than at the same time last year and a little over 30c/kg cheaper than last week.
But, there was certainly a big price spread across selling centres on Tuesday.
Markets at Shepparton, Wodonga, Roma and Carcoar recorded averages for young cattle higher than 400c/kg and well above the EYCI, while Warwick, Scone, Inverell and Gunnedah’s average was well below the current EYCI.