Calves up to 100kg heavier for Wodonga weaner sales

Up to 15,000 head expected at North East weaner sales

Sales
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New format for Wodonga weaner sales.

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Mick Penny, Carinya Estate, Bandianna, Victoria, will mark two decades of supplying cattle to the Wodonga sale in 2021. Mr Penny said his calves were up to 100kg heavier than usual for the time of year. Photo: NVLX

Mick Penny, Carinya Estate, Bandianna, Victoria, will mark two decades of supplying cattle to the Wodonga sale in 2021. Mr Penny said his calves were up to 100kg heavier than usual for the time of year. Photo: NVLX

Numbers for the January weaner sales at Wodonga are still tipped to be significant despite some producers selling early due to the red hot prices on offer.

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Elders Albury agent Brett Shea said they expected 13,000 to 15,000 calves at five sales across four days - with a new format and fixture introduced for the 2021 North East weaner sales.

This is compared to the 14,694 yarded in four sales in January 2020.

After a superb season, local cattle are in prime condition, and some producers have said their calves are up to 100 kilograms heavier than usual for the time of year.

The weaner sales will all be squeezed into the one week in 2021 and are set to start on Tuesday January 5, with Elders and Paull and Scollard Nutrien's Angus sale.

Next cab off the rank is the independent agents' Angus cattle sale on the Wednesday morning, which will be followed by a new fixture on the North East weaner sales calendar - an all-breed sale at Wangaratta.

Thursday will feature Elders and Paull and Scollard Nutrien's colour cattle, while the week will be wrapped up with the independent agents' colour sale on Friday.

"At the end of the day we're trying to compile a big run of calves into a week, which will obviously attract good competition because people know they can come to the area and buy big numbers of quality, vendor-bred weaners," Mr Shea said.

Mr Shea said outside of the cattle which were sent to market due the fires last year, Elders' numbers were similar to previous weaner sales.

"Between Elders and Nutrien we're looking at 2500 to 3000 head for our black cattle sale," Mr Shea said.

"There will be about 3000 calves down at Wangaratta, and we'll only have around 2000 to 2500 on day four (Thursday) with the coloured calves."

The new Wangaratta fixture is expected to be an annual event.

"It takes a bit of pressure off the numbers at Barnawartha (Wodonga) and it gets those clients in the Myrtleford, Mansfield, Benalla regions to a centre closer to home," Mr Shea said.

"There's a couple of feature runs going there, we have a line of 600 of DKF Heywood and Sons' weaners going to Wangaratta."

Mr Shea said he didn't expect there to be many more chances for buyers to get hold of good lines of weaner cattle after the January sales.

"There won't be many coming up behind them so if they want them they'll need to step up," Mr Shea said.

Corcoran Parker director Justin Keane said he expected the calves on offer to be significantly heavier than last year given the season.

"The lighter calves we sold last year that were around 270kg, will probably be more like 300kg," Mr Keane said.

He said it would be good to see buyers from northern NSW back in the yards after years of drought.

"There's some interest but it's still all dependent on what happens season-wise in the next three to four weeks, everyone's saying if it rains in Queensland things will change but it's still got to rain there," Mr Keane said.

"I think from a local point of view there are people who have sold cattle for good values so they will be interested in buying back in."

Peter Ruaro of PRL/Rodwells said they would have plenty of numbers to attract buyers in what was set to be a pretty full-on week.

"All our cattle have been retained for the Blue Ribbon sale," he said.

"It would be surprising if it didn't open strongly, but prices will depend a bit on how much rain they get in the north."

Michael Unthank from Brian Unthank Rural, said the bidders could access the sales online via StockLive.

"Regardless of where you are in the country you can make a bid," Mr Unthank said.

"It is the perfect opportunity to secure early-drop calves in good condition. Cattle will have plenty of weight, which means they will also meet the requirements of lot feeders."

Mr Unthank said there was still time for vendors to book their cattle in and encouraged producers to reach out to their local agents if they were interested in offering stock.

StockLive will have all the vendor and calf information available from next week.

The sales will start at 9am on Tuesday, January 5 at Wodonga and vendors and buyers are welcome to attend under NVLX's COVID safe plan.

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