Rewards follow on from recovery

Bushfire-impacted producers rewarded at 2021 weaner sales

Beef
David and Vicki McCallum, Tooma, sold 20 Hereford steers, 11 months, 364kg, for $1810 a head. It's a great reward following last year's bushfires.

David and Vicki McCallum, Tooma, sold 20 Hereford steers, 11 months, 364kg, for $1810 a head. It's a great reward following last year's bushfires.

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The 2020 weaner sales were a very different event this year for bushfire-impacted producers.

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PRICES at the Wodonga weaner sales soared to new heights last week, with weaner steers making up to $2070 a head and weaner heifers attracting a top of $1880.

It was a welcome reward for vendors who have been in recovery-mode following the 2019/2020 bushfires.

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David and Vicki McCallum, Tooma, sell Hereford steers at the Wodonga weaner sales every year, but on the sale day last year they were busy cleaning up, after a bushfire burnt around a third of their property, while also keeping a close eye on a fire in the neighbouring valley.

"We were in a mop up phase, plus another defending phase, the fires went for about three weeks on and off," Mr McCallum said.

Like many bushfire-impacted producers, the McCallums sold extra cattle in the weaner sales last year to ease the pressure on feed, but were lucky to be able to relocate most of their herd to their other properties, enabling them to hang onto their breeders.

This year, the sale day was a very different occasion for the McCallums. Their 11-months-old Hereford weaner steers weighed an average of 364kg and achieved a price of $1810. Their grown Hereford steers, 527kg, made $2160.

"Those prices are right out of the ball-park, I think we only averaged about $1200 to $1300 last year between the grown and weaner steers," Mr McCallum said.

"It's a great outlook for the cattle industry and it was just what people needed in terms of recovery."

The McCallums keep their best heifers and sell the rest, either in calf or after their spring calving.

Elders agent Stephen Street had many clients in the Wodonga weaner sales and said producers had stuck with the sale through thick and thin.

"They've had their hard days but now they've had their pay day which is wonderful to see," Mr Street said.

"They were extra happy with how the heifers have sold, in any sale the heifers can lack a little but they certainly haven't this year which proves the shortage of breeding stock and the wonderful season which has returned all down the Eastern seaboard.

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