Early-weaning gamble pays off

From 'doom and gloom' to topping a record-breaking AuctionsPlus sale

Beef
Bob Crawford (on right) with David Godfrey and Will Taylor who helped him draft their AuctionsPlus sale-topping weaners into the yards. Photo supplied.

Bob Crawford (on right) with David Godfrey and Will Taylor who helped him draft their AuctionsPlus sale-topping weaners into the yards. Photo supplied.

Aa

The Crawfords sold their weaners for more than $6/kg.

Aa

Moulamein cattle producers, Bob and Jo Crawford, Windouran, topped AuctionsPlus' largest cattle sale on record last Friday, their weaners selling for more than six dollars a kilogram.

Their Angus five to seven-month-old steers, weighing 124 kilograms attracted 669 cents per kilogram, while their heifers weighing 119kg made 613c/kg.

However, Mr Crawford said just a couple of months ago it was a "do or die" situation for their sale-topping weaners.

"They were on our Boorowa property and it was all doom and gloom," Mr Crawford said.

"We were running out of water, had virtually run out of feed and were worried about the bushfires burning us out."

"It was one of those moments in life where you either decide to go for it or not and we decided that we were going to go for it." - Bob Crawford, Moulamein cattle producer

Mr Crawford said therefore they made the decision to wean their calves early and truck them to their Moulamein property.

"Along with my son David and his workers Rodney Taylor and Justin Tarrant, we put in 12 hour days for the first three days of the New Year, mustering and drafting the calves in," Mr Crawford said.

"It was one of those moments in life where you either decide to go for it or not and we decided that we were going to go for it."

Mr Crawford said when they got the 958 calves home to Moulamein they yard weaned them and fed them vetch, barley, wheaten and oaten straw hay and a weaner calf pellet.

He said they decided to sell the top-third of the weaners on AuctionsPlus after realising they didn't have enough feed to keep all of them going and seeing the market firm up following the rain up north.

However, Mr Crawford said they never expected to receive the prices they did.

"We had no idea," he said.

"We thought they would be reasonably firm but we didn't know it was going to be a record sale number and that the prices would sky-rocket."

The Crawfords' weaner heifers weighing 119kg made 613c/kg. They decided to truck their calves from their Boorowa property to Moulamein and yard wean them. Photo - AuctionsPlus

The Crawfords' weaner heifers weighing 119kg made 613c/kg. They decided to truck their calves from their Boorowa property to Moulamein and yard wean them. Photo - AuctionsPlus

He said the majority of the 300 cattle they sold on Friday would be heading north.

"It's just lucky the people up north and east have had the rain and they're looking for cattle," Mr Crawford said.

He said they would keep the rest of their weaners on for another month or so and then look to sell again on AuctionsPlus.

"It's much easier to go through Auctions Plus because trucking to a site is not really an option for us with this sort of pastoral country," Mr Crawford said.

"These cattle have just walked 5km into the trucking yards so it's very difficult for us to say 'right we're all going to market'."

The Crawfords said they would usually paddock background feed their weaners, selling at close to 350 kilograms.

"The season as it is now though, it's just not feasible to do out here," Mr Crawford said.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by