Beef producers should pay attention to the opportunity cows with calves offer in the market, significantly when prices for cows on the processing chain could range from $800 to $1000 for heavy cows.
Bowe and Lidbury's Rodney McDonald, on his way home from a rain-affected Maitland sale on Monday, said the widespread and heavy rainfalls east of the ranges would give pastures a resuscitating lift.
He said that a three-way package of a cow with a calf and carrying a calf could be good business at current prices. Widespread rainfalls in the Gresford, Dungog, Lostock and Krambach districts ranged from 45 to 90 millimetres, and if follow-up falls occur, it would be a welcome lift.
"We only had 300 head today, and the rain has already slowed numbers," Mr McDonald said.
"Best cows were 190 cents a kilogram; we only got up to 155c/kg before the rain. Restocker steers were 200c/kg to 230c/kg, and the heifer job was up to 40c/kg dearer."
Goulburn-based PM Properties bought the top-priced pen of 15 Angus cows with calves that had been running with a Bowen-blood bull during the Tamworth sale last Friday. Acting on behalf of the client was Nathan Kruidenier, Delta Ag, who said the season around the Goulburn district gave beef producers an excellent opportunity to unload cast-for-age females and replace them with younger cow/calf pairs without outlaying much change.
Luke Whitty, Kevin Miller, Whitty, Lennon and Company, Forbes, said a pen of cows with calves made $1620 the Forbes sale last Friday.
"It's the first time over $1500 for some time," Mr Whitty said. "It's a big fall from grace compared to 18 months ago, so people looking to buy cows with calves will get excellent value for money."
He said producers must consider their feed reserves before deciding whether to buy. "It takes a lot to feed a cow and calf over the summer," he said.
"But it would be a good move to get rid of older cows while the price is 180c/kg to 190c/kg and pick up a cow and calf four or five years younger. There are some great opportunities out there if you're buying, not so good if you are selling."
Mr Whitty said widespread rain in northern NSW and into Queensland would be the catalyst for a lift in the market. However, the influence of Victorian, South Australian and southern NSW opportunity buyers would continue to play a minor role.
AWN Squires' Robbie Bloch, Inverell, said there is little movement in cows with calves in the Inverell region.
"But they represent terrific value at the moment," Mr Bloch said.
"We'll start to see a lot more movement of them in about four weeks if we don't see any rain."
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