Tasmania buyers snap up draft of weaner heifers

Blue Ribbon Angus Weaner Sale draws Tasmanian interest

Studstock
Christina Johnson and Stafford Ives-Heres of Shanford Park, Marrawah, North-West Tasmania, with a pen of 14 Angus heifers weighing 322kg that they purchased from Stephen S Adams, Mansfield, Vic, for $795/hd or 246c/kg. Photo: Mark Griggs

Christina Johnson and Stafford Ives-Heres of Shanford Park, Marrawah, North-West Tasmania, with a pen of 14 Angus heifers weighing 322kg that they purchased from Stephen S Adams, Mansfield, Vic, for $795/hd or 246c/kg. Photo: Mark Griggs

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Tasmanian producer Stafford Ives-Heres, Marrawah, buys heifers for fifth generation family business.

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TASMANIAN buyers collected a boat load of cattle from last week's annual Wodonga weaner sales, with at least 62 heifers purchased on day one headed to southern buyers.

Targeting heifers in the 320 kilogram to 350kg weight bracket, and around 245 cents per kilogram, Stafford Ives-Heres of Shanford Park, Marrawah, north-west Tasmania, runs a fifth generation business and returned to this year's sale to buy.

Previously purchasing cattle from other Victorian sales as well as from the Wagga Wagga saleyards, Mr Ives-Heres attended the sale last year but said he couldn't get his hands on anything for the right price that fit the bill.

He said the cattle this year weighed more compared to last, and the quality was impressive, with a number of big and even lines.

"We were purchasing at around the 245c/kg price mark, and to get them home would cost about 20c/kg so that gets them landed for about 270c/kg," Mr Ives-Heres said.

"That is still 20 cents above where the market is at home."

Included in the Ives-Heres draft was 14 heifers from vendor Stephen S Adams, Mansfield, Vic, that were 10 months old, weighed 322kg and were purchased for $795 a head, or 246c/kg.

He was looking for the type of cattle he wanted, which included bloodlines of what he knows.

"We have bought bulls through Dunoon, seen Rennylea cattle and so we were looking for quality bloodlines," he said.

Mr Ives-Heres said most people in Tasmania tend to run spring-calving herds, meaning it is hard to purchase autumn-drop animals in larger runs.

"It is different to see big, even drafts of this age of cattle this time of year," he said. "It is hard to buy a run in Tasmania, you might get 10 or 12 head but can't get numbers."

Purchasing heifers rather than steers, he believes the females are able to handle the cold winters well, they finish easily and provide an option if you want to retain some for breeding.

"They are 320kg now, and we will take them through to July and fatten them to kill, or use them as replacements," he said.

"Purchasing them any heavier means you don't get enough return on them. We work on $22 per week."

Alongside his finishing operation, he also runs about 250 Angus breeders and a small stud on the side.

"They are a Te Mania base and Dunoon and Cluden Newry bloodlines," he said.

"The environment we are in suits medium cows. We are hard on feet, temperament and fertility.

Last year Mr Ives-Heres purchased 100 extra heifers from Victoria and Wagga Wagga that he will calve in February and March.

Coming from a dairy region, he said they run at a stocking rate to ensure fertilty.

"In spring we can run 30 DSE (dry sheep equivalent), where as all year round we are between 22 and 25 DSE," he said.

The season has been good in Tasmania, and they have been running heaps of numbers but it is drying up.

"Three-quarters of Tasmania is dry so it will be interesting to see if the price comes back in January/February," he said.

Mr Ives-Heres also purchased on day two.

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