The historic, south-western town of Casterton will again host a series of feature weaner cattle sales in January.
Greg Bright, Landmark Casterton, said his agency would kick off the series, with their steer weaners sale on Tuesday, January 10 at 9am.
Elders Casterton will follow with its 62nd annual steer weaner sale on Friday, January 13 at 9am.
The agencies will join together to host the heifer weaners sale on Thursday, January 19 at 9am.
Mr Bright said Landmark was anticipating 2200 steers – about two-thirds of which would be Angus and Angus-cross and about a third or less Herefords.
He said they were expecting a similar number of British breed heifers in total, between Landmark and Elders.
This represents more cattle than last year. Mr Bright said more cattle had been kept to sell at the feature weaner sales this year than last year, when many were sold early to an export order and because of last year’s “awful spring”.
“This year’s spring has been terrific; it’s one of the best springs we’ve had in a long time. It’s back to an old-fashion season,” Mr Bright said.
He said the district’s cattle were looking very good. He anticipated they’d put on a lot of weight before the sale, thanks to the sunshine and grass having gone to seed.
The calves to be offered for sale are all vendor bred and Mr Bright said they were the “…traditional, quality Western District beef weaners” Casterton and Hamilton sales were renowned for.
He said 80-90pc of the calves would be weaned a couple of weeks before the sale. This percentage has increased over the years, reflecting improved management and a push by buyers.
Mr Bright said weaning cattle early required planning but gave people flexibility to wean calves at a good time. He said it also made pre-sale day easier.
He expected the buying gallery to be more varied than last year, when northern buyers were very strong.
“I think they’ll be there as well this year, along with local buyers, South East SA, local buyers and even buyers from Gippsland, because they’ve all got feed now.”
Mr Bright said he thought prices would be even better than last year’s, pushed largely by the “current feed situation”.
“People don’t want feed in the paddock and not be able to use it.”
Chad Mason, who has joined Elders Casterton in recent months, expects the quality of calves at the weaner sales to be “exceptional”.
“Possibly the calves will have more weight across the board (compared to last year), thanks to the exceptional spring,” Mr Mason said.
He said as well as northern clients returning, Mr Mason also expects feed lot buyers and local restockers to underpin it.
“It’s be great to see these good prices continue through the weaner sale season,” he said.