A WIDE geographical spread of buyers pushed prices at least $30 above expectation at last Thursday's final Naracoorte combined agents weaner sale for the season.
South East producers, who have mostly had the pick of the calves this season, had to contend with orders from Ballarat, Sea Lake and Yarrawonga in Victoria, and Warren and Gunnedah in NSW.
The Ogilvie Group buying through Miller, Whan & John were again the volume buyer with 372 heifers to be either grass or grain finished.
Ovens Junction, NSW, bought 148 of the lighter weight heifers to be backgrounded.
In the breakdown, 1635 heifers topped at $685 averaging $472.
Most of the largely Angus, black baldy, Hereford and Charolais calves made $1.60 a kilogram to $1.78/kg with a few secondary types including some pastoral-bred cattle making $1.20-$1.45/kg.
Drizzle during the sale will do little for dry paddock feed but did provide optimism that it can still rain.
The five millimetres was the only rain for the year so far.
Neil and Bruce Davis, Bimbadeen Red Angus, Coonawarra, took top-price honours at $685 with their 19 European Union–accredited Simmental-Red Angus heifers.
At 378kg they equated to $1.81/kg. The heifers were knocked down to T&R Pastoral SE buyer Ben Davies, who was in front of the pens all day buying 140 head including an EU feeder order.
He was pleasantly surprised by the result.
"I really didn't know how it would go with the way the bottom end of the PTIC heifers went two weeks ago," he said.
"I thought people may have bought heifers in-calf but it was great to see there was still the demand there (for unjoined heifers)."
Bimbadeen achieved the top-price double with their steers also making the equal-top.
Also among the high prices, Colin and Jenny Muster, Mundulla West, sold 21 Angus heifers at $650 to the Wooding family through Thomas, DeGaris & Clarkson, Penola, who will use them as breeders. The heifers weighed 390kg.
Full report in Stock Journal, February 7 issue, 2013.