THE first of the southern weaner sales got off to a solid start at the annual Naracoorte Combined Agents Weaner Sale on Thursday last week with a magnificent line-up of steers and better-than-anticipated returns.
Heavy steers topped at $780 or $2.10 a kilogram, and lighter steers made to just more than the $2.20/kg mark in places.
A total yarding of 3650 quality steers attracted buyers to this blue ribbon sale, with most cattle selling to repeat buyers from SA's local, mid and lower South East areas and to western Vic.
There was a lack of regular NSW orders this year, however a good order from Leongatha and buyers representing Central Stockcare and Thomas Foods International kept the sale buoyant, with an evident premium of 10-25c/kg on EU and PCAS-accredited lines.
Sale prices varied, down to about $1.70/kg on heavy calves and stronger 10-15 cents/kg paid as the sale progressed. Most sales were in the $1.75/kg to $1.90/kg range.
Weights were slightly down on previous years but vendors yarded cattler with stellar condition despite enduring one of the toughest autumn-winter periods for a number of years.
Major vendors the DiGiorgio family, Lucindale, once again did not disappoint, presenting a quality line-up of 600 Angus steers that were all EU and PCAS-accredited.
Their top price pen (per head) returned $715 for six Sterita Park blood Angus steers, weighing 414kg, bought by TFI's Ben Davies, equating to $1.72/kg.
The average price paid for the 600 head of DiGiorgio steers was $576.43.
Nanni DiGiorgio said the family was "quietly satisfied" with the sale of their steers, which returned about $25/hd more than last year.
Given the tough start to the season and with slightly lighter average weights than last year, he was very happy with how they sold overall.
The first pen to be sold was from BT&E Ling, Mount Benson, whose 19 Mootatunga blood Angus steers, EU and PCAS accredited and weighing 435kg, were knocked down for the equal top price of the sale at $780, or $1.79/kg, to TFI's Ben Davies.
The Ling family sold a total of 54 Mootatunga blood Angus steers for a healthy average of $696.20.
Equalling the top price paid per head were LS Johnson & Son, Naracoorte, with a draft of weaners from their Springbank property in the Elders run.
John Stuckey, Hatherleigh, paid $780 or $2.10/kg for a pen of their 42 March/April-drop, Waterfront and Allendale blood Angus/Simmental/Hereford steers, yard weaned, weighing 370kg, EU and PCAS accredited.
There was good demand for the Simmental-infused Johnson cattle, with 207 steers offered for a very pleasing average of $708.07.
Jim Noonan, Landmark Millicent, bought a pen of 21 DiGiorgio steers with an average weight of 259kg, for $2.22/kg or $575/hd.
WV James & Son, Cooranga, Lucindale, offered a large run of 286 Angus and Angus-cross steers, weaned February/March-drop, EU and PCAS accredited, selling to a top of $700 or $1.94/kg for a pen of 44 weighing 359kg and an overall sale average of $641.75.
Another regular vendor at the annual weaner sale, JT&GM Mckay, Egremont, sold a total of 192 weaned PCAS eligible Angus and Simmental-cross steers for a total average of $632.97.
A pen of 23 March/April-drop Angus steers weighing 352kg sold to a top of $685 or $1.94/kg and a pen of 19 March/April-drop Simmental-cross steers weighing 347kg sold for the same price per head, equating to $1.97/kg with a run of 22 slightly lighter Angus steers weighing 305kg, sold for $630 or $2.06/kg.
North Coast Pastoral, hailing from Kangaroo Island, sold a total of 143 Angus and Angus-cross steers for an average of $566.26.
Their two top pens both returned $630/hd, with the first pen of nine weighing 379kg knocked down to Stevens Egan Johnston Pty Ltd, Leongatha, Vic, for $1.66/kg and the next pen of 43, weighing 334kg, selling to Landmark, Casterton for $1.88/kg.
* Full report in Stock Journal, December 19 issue, 2013.