Bull market boosted by seasonal confidence

Quick bull sale result turnaround in 2020 catches many by surprise

Beef
Bull sales in the last month have seen higher averages and clearances than 2019. Photo: Lucy Kinbacher

Bull sales in the last month have seen higher averages and clearances than 2019. Photo: Lucy Kinbacher

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Vendor and agent confidence is high ahead of the start of bull sales in the northern and central parts of the state.

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Restockers looking to maximise the potential of their heifer or cow purchases are among those boosting the demand for bulls in 2020 much quicker than many in the industry had expected.

Vendor and agent confidence is high ahead of the start of bull sales in the northern and central parts of the state from the end of this month given the strong results of southern auctions who were also able to overcome the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions.

The majority if not all of bull sale offerings are being cleared under the hammer with averages higher on all auctions in the last month.

Wagga's Sprys Shorthorn rose from an $8387 average in 2019 to $10,736 in 2020, Reiland Angus at Tumut was also up from $6309 to $7419, Scone Speckle Park sale went from $5338 to $5850 for bulls, Hazeldean Angus at Cooma climbed from $6444 to $8387, Rydal's Violet Hill Charolais jumped from $5500 to $6086 and the Limousin National Sale saw a $7444 average compared with $4937 for junior bulls and $6909 for senior bulls last year.

Elders Tumut branch manager Rob Stubbs secured bulls at the Reiland sale for his clients and said some producers in the region were forced to reduce their numbers due to fires but others had dodged a bullet.

"Obviously a lot of females got sold and people thought the demand wouldn't be there but there is obviously more good breeding females that have been retained than what we may have thought," he said.

"What we have found with a lot of our clients is they want that moderate birth weight and good growth figures to follow."

Nutrien Ag Solutions Central West divisional livestock sales coordinator and stud stock manager John Settree said green grass and the seasonal turn around had aided the selling situation.

"There has been a lot of restocking activity in terms of heifers, young cows and even old store cows," he said.

"They are trying to certainly take an opportunity, especially in the heifer side of things, either keep the best and they become breeders going forward or they put them in calf and sell them later in the spring pregnancy tested in calf or the ones that grow well out on some crop, and every one has got some crop, then they are going to slaughter and feedlots.

"The female numbers that were killed off over the last 12 to 18 months were astronomical and a drought is always good for cleaning out the inferior animals. We have increased maternal attributes. We have increased fertility, we have increased doability, mothering ability, ability to lay fat down and get back in calf."

Genetically the bulls on offer were some of the best vendors had ever offered and now was the opportunity to buy, he said.

"Because of what we have gone through in the previous 12 to 18 months studmasters made the decisions quite early to reduce their numbers and any animal that wasn't going to make a bull sale catalogue got left behind," he said.

"What is being offered now is in the top 20 or 30 per cent of what they have ever offered. If they have offered 100 in past years they are back to 70 and if they were 70 then they are back to 40.

"What we are seeing is genetically and phenotypically probably the best they have ever put forward, which is a real selling point."

He encouraged vendors to start promoting their offerings now so bull buyers and agents could organise private inspections under social distancing rules.

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