Beef cattle values may be hitting record levels but that hasn't stopped enthusiastic restockers from entering the market ahead of fears of continued price hikes.
Narrabri producer Doug Jamieson and his manager Jason Simpson secured $90,000 worth of cattle from Yarra Glen, Victoria, on AuctionsPlus last week as they look to rebuild to their standard herd numbers of 200 to 220 Hereford breeders joined to Charolais bulls.
The 1011 hectare (2500 acre) aggregation of Rymara and Merihula properties is covered in thick pasture after receiving 330 millimetres of rain for the year and their rotational grazing system meant more stock were needed to capitalise on the seasonal change.
With the help of Nutrien Ag Solutions stock agent Bruce Evans, they were able to secure 41 Hereford females pregnancy tested in calf to Angus bulls, in line with their own joining period, for $1820/head. They were set to arrive in Narrabri on Friday night.
Having bought steers in 2016 for up to 420c/kg, Mr Simpson was no stranger to a high market but said there was value in their latest purchases.
"It's the most expensive market we have ever bought into but having said that it's probably the biggest drought that we have had and probably the best feed we have ever had," he said.
"People are forecasting cows to hit 400c/kg so at 350c/kg it didn't sound crazy. To be a farmer you have got be a bit optimistic."
Hand feeding on and off since June 2018 reduced their breeder herd down to 104 head so they wasted no time in restocking.
Cattle were locked up in sacrifice paddocks as soon it began to rain in a bid to centralise cattle movements and allow for an even recovery across the properties.
They then began rotational grazing, spending two to three days in across paddocks of 30 to 40 acres and returning back to their initial paddocks after about 36 days.
It was a Department of Agriculture field day where they learnt British breed cattle don't like to walk more than 500 metres for water compared with northern Bos Indicus cattle that can withstand up to 1.5km distances.
A smaller paddock system with windmills and water pipe systems was therefore established.
"The grass is growing faster than they can eat it," Mr Simpson said.
"Grass grows faster when there is more leaf on it and you can't let it get too rank or long and then it becomes lignified and unable to digest."
They traditionally turn cattle off into a feeder market at 360 to 450 kilograms with last year's calves early weaned in December at 130 to 140 kilograms to retain their supply.
Mr Jamieson, who established a career as a pharmacist, credited the property's successful recovery to frequent advice from industry experts.
"We now realise it was an advantage to be ignorant because we went to the expert all the time," he said,.
"We never did anything without ringing up or going to see a department of agriculture person and giving them a problem and following their advice."