PROSTOCK Livestock agent Scott Endersby, Mount Compass, says there should be good rewards for farmers willing to take a punt on buying lighter cattle at the moment, but they are few and far between because of tight feed supplies in a number of areas.
“At our saleyard, lighter cattle aren’t selling the same as heavy cattle, there’s quite a disparity,” he said.
“For those feeding cattle at the moment, it is speculation and high risk but there could be big rewards as well. I can see a lot of upside to come, especially in the first and second quarter of next year.
“Once the vealer market finishes, feeder weight cattle will be very hard to find. There’s not going to be huge numbers of fat cattle, except for grain-finished cattle.”
Mr Endersby said one aspect holding farmers back was uncertainty on where grain prices would end up.
“A lot of people who would normally supplementary feed cattle are too nervous to do so at the moment,” he said.
“Anyone that does take that risk, I think there’s a lot of reward and upside waiting for them.
“But there aren’t a lot of people willing to invest $450 a tonne into feeding cattle at the moment, especially because no one know where grain prices are going to go.”
While feeder weight prices have held up well at Mount Compass, store cattle have been tougher to sell.
“If it doesn’t meet feedlot weight, 320 kilgorams to 500kg, prices could be back by 20 cents/kg to 40c/kg,” Mr Endersby said.
“In our area, we don’t have a lot of feed, and we don’t have summer feed, so there’s not a lot of confidence until we get a break in autumn.”
At Wednesday’s Mount Compass sale there were about 1600 head yarded.
“There are big numbers coming in, people are selling because they don’t have feed and their cattle will be going backwards if they keep them,” Mr Endersby said.