RETURNS for heavier weaner steers may have been back a fraction at the first weaner sale of 2022 at Naracoorte, but rates on mid-weights to lighter steers were firm to dearer than pre-Christmas according to agents.
The first leg of the two-day weaner sale at the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange saw 5961 steers sold on Thursday to an average of $2337 and $6.51 a kilogram.
Today's 3327 heifers averaged $2059 and $6.29/kg. Across two days, the sale raked in close to $20.8 million.
TDC Livestock and Property Darren Maney said there was about 1500 more steers yarded in comparison with a normal January weaner sale, with vendors flooding in after the strong prices achieved pre-Christmas.
Mr Maney said heavier steers were up to 20 cents cheaper than December and there was a noticeable premium for straight Angus steers from the gallery of commission buyers.
Uncertainty surrounding the developing COVID situation resulted in one of the smallest crowds Mr Maney had seen given the number of cattle on offer.
"At stages we really did lack that local farmer that wanted to buy his 20, 30 or 50 steers who was going to bid against the processor," he said.
"Having said that, I reckon there'd only be five pens of calves over our whole yarding which made under $2000 so how in the world can anyone complain."
Steers weighing 400 kilograms plus averaged $5.86/kg to a top of $6.34/kg, with 330-400kg steers averaging $6.51/kg to a top of $7.30/kg, those weighing 280-330kg averaging $7.04/kg to a top of $7.78/kg and the limited number of steers below 280kg averaging $7.76 to a high of $9.35/kg.
Nutrien's Brendan Fitzgerald agreed that heavier steers were a "shade cheaper" than December, with those 40kg lighter making similar dollar per head rates.
"As we came down in weight it got dearer and dearer to be firm, if not a bit better in places," he said.
"Coming into the first sale of the new year there were a few nerves as to where prices might have been, but it remained strong.
Mr Fitzgerald said the majority of the yarding would be heading to NSW and Vic, with not much local competition evident.
Nutrien clients GK&RJ Smith received $7.30/kg or $2438 for 32 February/March 2021-drop Angus steers, av 334kg, while RJ&CM Savage, Lochaber and Avenue Range, made $5.86/kg or $2724 for 87 Sterita, Pathfinder and Texas Angus yearling steers, av 465kg.
Selling through TDC, Kanangra Props, Furner, sold 185 Angus/Simmental steers to a high of $2568 or $5.60/kg for 20 weighing 458.5kg.
Receiving $6.66/kg or $2502 for 68 Weeran and Stoney Point-bld, March/April 2021-drop Angus steers across three pens was Nareen Station, Nareen, Vic.
KJ&HA McGrath, Beachport, offered 431 mixed March/April 2021-drop steers, receiving $7.34/kg or $2383 for a large run of 324.7kg steers and $6.50/kg or $2417 for another 97 weighing 371.9kg.
Another run of Angus steers weighing 149.8kg realised $9.35/kg for Jakabul Pty Ltd.
Southern Australian Livestock's yarding included 248 quality Angus and Speckle Park steers from Boonderoo Pastoral Company, Lucindale, which sold to a high of $2548 or $6.10/kg for 20 February/March 2021-drop, Sheraco-blood, EU eligible Angus steers, av 417.7kg.
Twenty of their March/April 2021-drop Epic Speckle Park-bld steers, av 382kg, made $6.25/kg or $2388, with their total offering of both breeds averaging a touch over $2400.
Boonderoo's Lachie Seears said the family were very happy with how their steers presented and sold.
"The market hasn't dropped away which is what we were hoping for and I think that's on the back of the feed in NSW that's coming through after the rains," he said.
"There's still great confidence in the cattle industry which shone through in this sale.
"It wasn't worth us holding onto them longer to put more feed into them, with those lighter cattle making very similar prices to the heavy ones.
"That's now going to give us more feed for our ewes, which we're in the process of joining, and means we'll more dry feed available leading into Autumn."
KP Pastoral, Frances, offered 79 Angus steers with their lightest - 13 March/April 2021-drop Roseleigh bloods weighing 330.8kg - sold for $7.25/kg or $2398.
PPHS's run of cattle included quality Angus/Simmental and Red Angus/Simmental cross steers from Sunray Pastoral, Millicent, with 31 Woonalee-bld, February/March 2021- drops, av 452kg, making $2590 or $5.73/kg, while a further 23, av 409kg, made $2480 or $6.06/kg.
DK&JD Symonds, Edenhope, Vic, received $2550 or $6.62/kg for 27 Nampara and Hazeldean-bld Angus steers, av 385kg, while CP&LM Iredell, Pigeon Ponds, Vic, made $2460 or $6.83/kg for 61 Boonaroo-bld Angus, av 360kg, and $2400 or $7.34/kg for a further 62 weighing 327kg.
Donald Brown & Co, Keppoch, sold 30 Hazeldean-bld Angus steers, av 358kg, for $2470 or $6.90/kg.
Elders client LS Johnson & Son, Naracoorte, sold 525 February/March 2021-drop Boonaroo and Granite Ridge-bld Angus and Woonalee and Lakeside-bld Simmental/Hereford steers from their Ross Plains and Conmurra properties.
Fifty of their topweight Angus across two pens, av 418kg and 432kg, made $2480 or $5.93 and $5.74/kg, with the next weight category down, 86 weighing 397kg, making similar money per head at $2470 or $6.22/kg.
Their Simmental/Herefords sold to $2430 or $6.04/kg for 29, av 402kg, with their lighter Angus weighing 330kg or less selling in excess of $7/kg.
Stewartdale, Naracoorte, sold 23 March/April 2021-drop, Stoney Point-bld Angus steers, av 418kg, for $2560 or $6.12/kg to TFI and another 26 weighing 375kg to $2450 or $6.53/kg.
Selling 32 May/June 2021-drop, Mandayen/Nampara and Woonalee Black Simmental Angus cross steers for $2280 or $7.65/kg was Bull Island Pastoral Co, Avenue Range.
Bull Island sold 35 of the same description, av 353kg, for $2390 or $6.77/kg.
Among the lighter cattle making high dollar a kg rates were 26 Angus steers, av 277kg, from CR Pastoral which were knocked down for $2140 or $7.73/kg and 30 Angus, av 235kg, from Willalooka Pastoral Co which made $2000 or $8.51/kg.