EUKEY district cattleman, Fred Pratt, Clearview, was clearly one very happy vendor at the George and Fuhrmann Stanthorpe Early Weaner Sale held on Thursday.
Due to the drought, Mr Pratt offered a line of 48 Angus steers and 72 Angus heifers.
Overall his steers with an average weight of 257kgs sold for an average of $513/head. His top priced pen of 15 steers with an average weight of 281kg sold to return $678/head.
Mr Pratts line of 72 heifers with an average weight of 173kg sold to average $344.50/head. A pen of 13 heifers topped at 244c/kg to return $427/head.
"This sale result was very strong and so much better that we had all expected," he said.
"We were worried selling today after the 4400 weaners offered at Tenterfield Sale this morning."
In a normal season Mr Pratt sells his weaner draft in April. He would keep 20 heifers as replacements and 20 of his best steers to take through to feeder weights.
"It is so dry and they all had to go early and I haven't kept any stock back," he said.
"We did have 100mm of rain last October but with the howling westerly winds that followed it really knocked my feed about."
Mr Pratt normally runs 140 Angus breeders but he suffered a setback when he lost 16 cows after feeding out hay, two weeks ago.
He said the testing has revealed that hay with high levels of prussic acid and nitrates was the cause of death of cattle.
"The hay had been tested but it must have been one biscuit that was the problem," he said.
Mr Pratt said he will be offering a further 80 breeders in April to off-load more cattle due to the drought and lack of feed.
Selling agent Matthew Grayson, George Fuhrmann, Warwick, said the weaner market was strong and certainly followed the positive trend set earlier in the day at Tenterfield Weaner Sale, in northern NSW.
"We had steers sell to a top of 295ckg," Mr Grayson said.
"The buying support was very strong, particularly from Wickham Farms, of Killarney.
"Killarney Farms will now take these steers through to feeder and bullock weights."
A second Stanthorpe store and weaner sale is set for April 4, with 2000 head expected to be offered.