TRADING lightweight cows may be a quicker revenue raiser than looking at younger cattle as prices continue to remain high for weaners.
Graziers with no or few cattle left after the drought and looking to make some money from their abundant grass and pasture bank are looking to a quick turnaround with young or older cows of lighter weights.
Restockers and traders are picking up the better quality and reasonably conditioned females for up to 300 cents a kilogram liveweight and turning them onto grass or feed with the aim to return them to the saleyards much fatter in spring.
Processors, on the other hand, have been picking up the heavyweights to compensate for the lighter-yielding cows purchased in Queensland.
Forbes agent, Luke Whitty of Kevin Miller Whitty Lennon and Company, said buyers could secure cows for under $3/kg and hold for a while to resell fat.
"You can have a shorter term trade with a cow," he said. "If you buy a light cow now at $3/kg (the going cost) you can keep it for three months on some substantial feed and resell in the spring for about the same price ($3/kg) and have the increased weight gain as your profit factor.
"So, potentially you could make $200 to $250 in a shorter period of time than it takes with a weaner."
Cows were selling well at Wagga Wagga on Monday with the heaviest around 720kg and making $2600.
At Cooma last Friday cows also sold to a top of $2600, while PTIC cows ranged in price from $1800 to $2300 a head during the highest-ever priced sale at the local yards.
Grass finisher Greg Upton, Walcha, said the short-term outlook was okay, but the position down the track was "very precarious".
"There's a shortage at the moment," he said. "But long term things are muddy."
He questioned the price of breeding females, with $3000 for a cow remarkable money.
"I think people will be lucky to make any money at all, even if she has 100 per cent calving."