GROWN steers are hard to find in the saleyards, but for vendors taking the time to finish cattle at the heavier weights it's still paying dividends.
Forbes Livestock and Agency Company's Tim Mackay said although the cents a kilogram price for heavy steers was lower than lighter categories, the dollars a head price was where the returns were most evident.
"It's not uncommon for those heavy steers to be making more than $3000 a head and that's big money," he said.
"Grain's reasonably cheap at the moment and there's plenty of grass about so the costs to finish a steer makes it worth the effort if that's what you want to do."
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He said top quality steers that sold through the Forbes saleyards on Monday returned $3300 a head.
"Those steers could have been turned off as feeders much earlier for about $2200, but by finishing them with $400 worth of grain the vendor's done pretty well out of the sale," he said.
Mr Mackay said the quality of the cattle offered right across the yarding was "starting to shed the winter blues and there were plenty of spring conditioned cattle being offered".
At the same time, he said some of the cattle bought in from Queensland with Bos Indicus content were beginning to make their way into the saleyards at both Forbes and Dubbo.
There was a sizable yarding of 4400 cattle at Dubbo's prime sale last Thursday and Meat and Livestock Australia reporter David Monk said there were good numbers of grown steers available.
He said prices were firm and prime grown steers sold from 430c/kg to 489c/kg. Those sold to the feedlot made even more money in cents a kilogram and the top pen hit 558c/kg.
Southern competition at saleyards such as Wagga Wagga meant grown steers picked up by feedlots topped at 576c/kg on Monday.
MLA reporter Leann Dax said 500kg to 600kg steers sold to solid demand from processors, but the bulk sold to strong feedlot demand. She said steers suitable for domestic processors made from 460c/kg to 521c/kg.
Grown steers sold over-the-hooks have fetched as much as 730c/kg (carcase weight). That's 15c/kg more than processors paid just a few week's ago.
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