SOCIAL distancing and the observance of COVID-19 protocols were of highest priority among agents and buyers at the monthly Mount Gambier store sale on Wednesday last week.
Brought forward from Friday due to Easter, the store sale commenced with all attendees registering on arrival at the Glenburnie sale complex.
A modest yarding of just over 1000 head allowed agents to draft cattle into every alternate pen, leaving ample space around each yard for agents and buyers.
With no vendors in attendance, the gallery was limited to buyers only; auctioneers and clerks on the overhead walkways and agents relegated in the cattle race.
Elders auctioneer Aiden Auld said there was solid demand and very good support from regular feedlot buyers and local restockers.
"Cattle in all classes sold very well and above expectations given the current state of play, even though prices retreated slightly from last month's high," he said.
"Everyone's getting the picture and keeping their distance. Buyers and producers know it's of the utmost importance to keep these yards running through this (COVID-19) crisis."
Mount Gambier Combined Agents president Chris Manser, Green Triangle Livestock, said given the unusual conditions, the sale went off without a hitch.
"With bigger Angus steers making from $3.50 a kilogram to $3.70kg and smaller lighter black steers and the tops of the Angus heifers making close to $4/kg, I would say that it was a very, very successful day," he said.
"It was imperative that COVID-19 protocols were observed and adhered to, so selling 1000 plus cattle in just over an hour, getting buyers in and out without delay and having no one hanging around the yards longer than necessary was a great effort."
A total of 557 steers were yarded, with a draft of six Angus steers averaging 513kg making the dollars-per-head high of $1680 or $3.27/kg, sold by SR&HM Graetz, Willalooka, and bought by Creek Livestock, Mt Gambier.
The highest cents/kg price of $4.06/kg (or $1140) was paid by Nutrien Ag Services, Mt Gambier, for a draft of 11 August/September 2019-drop Angus steers av 281kg, sold for Ardrossan Angus, Suttontown.
Regular vendors G&D Dobbe, Dartmoor, Vic, sold 40 Pasturefed Cattle Assurance Scheme-eligible Nampara-blood Angus/Simmental steers 10-12 months for an average of $1435, all going to Elders Mt Gambier on behalf of Brian Smith, who paid $1540 or $3.83/kg for the top draft av 402kg.
W&L Milne, Casterton, Vic, sold 22 PCAS-eligible Weeran-bld Angus steers, 8-10 months, for an average of $1295. Their tops av 438kg sold at $1550 or $3.54/kg to Teys Australia, while their 292kg second draft sold to Creek Livestock at $1150 or $3.94/kg.
Glencoe vendors ST&J Hawke sold 18 PCAS-eligible Stoney Point and Granite Ridge-bld Angus steers for an average of $1177. Their top draft av 314kg sold to Nutrien Ag Services, Mt Gambier, at $1220 or $3.89/kg.
Their 277kg second draft sold at $1090 or $3.94/kg to Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn & Steen, Penola.
Avonlea, Strathdownie, Vic, sold 20 PCAS-eligible Hereford-cross steers, 11 months, for an average of $1377. Their top draft av 423kg, sold at $1520 or $3.59/kg to Creek Livestock. A second draft av 361kg sold to Miller Whan & John at $1260 or $3.49/kg.
SE Kemp & Co, Allendale, sold 11 PCAS-eligible Murray Grey-cross steers, 10 months, av 293kg at $1125 or $3.84/kg to Green Triangle Livestock.
MW&J bought 19 Warrensville-blood Poll Hereford steers av 355kg for $1310 or $3.69/kg from RK&SM Johnson, Benara.
AG Outram, Heywood, Vic, sold 17 Angus and Euro-cross steers. Their top line of 10-month-old Angus steers av 438kg made $1500 or $3.42/kg, and a draft of 17mo Euro steers av 373kg made $1380 or $3.70/kg, both lines both bought by Teys Australia, destined for their Jindalee feedlot.
Overall, heavy Angus steers 450kg-plus sold from $2.83-$3.56/kg; Angus steers from 360-450kg made from $3.49-$3.83/kg; and coloured steers 360-450kg sold from $3.36-$3.70/kg.
Angus steers from 320-360kg sold at prices from $3.54-$3.85/kg, while coloured steers in the same weight range, made from $3.65-$3.69/kg.
Lighter Angus steers 280-320kg sold from $3.36-$4.06/kg, coloured steers in this weight range made from $2.06-$3.84/kg; and Angus steers under 280kg sold from $3.89-$3.94/kg.
There was 456 heifers yarded at Mount Gambier last week, selling to $1450.
The 15 Angus heifers, 14-16 months-old, weighed an average 405 kilograms, equating to $3.58/kg for The Range, Dartmoor, Vic.
All classes sold above expectations, with 360-400kg-plus heifers making $3.25-$3.66/kg; 320-360kg heifers selling for $3.21-$3.73/kg; 280-320kg heifers made $3.18-$3.84/kg and heifers under 280kg sold from $3.51-$3.95/kg.
Kleenview, Casterton, Vic, sold eight Nampara and Banquet-blood heifers, 12-13mo, av 373kg, at $1330 or $3.57/kg to Mansa Holdings.
Kleenview's second draft av 325kg was bought by Hardwicks, Kyneton, Vic, at $1210 or $3.72/kg.
With an order to fill for a northern NSW pastoral client, Dale Keatley, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Mount Gambier, bought 175 heifers, including 21 Angus av 300kg at $1140 or $3.80/kg from AF&GA Elijah, Casterton, Vic; 18 PCAS-eligible Angus, 10mo av 271kg, at $1070 or $3.95/kg from ST&J Hawke, Glencoe, and a draft of Angus heifers 11-12mo av 293kg at $1110 or $3.79/kg from Tuscanna, West Avenue.
Avenue Range vendors Patanga Pastoral sold 25 Yamburgan and South Bundara-bld Shorthorn heifers av 332 at $1220 or $3.67/kg and a second draft av 314kg at $1160 or $3.69, both bought by Mr Keatley.
Charolais-cross heifers av 330kg offered by Patanga Pastoral, sold to Creek Livestock at $1205 or $3.65/kg.
Dan Baker, Hardwicks, bought 137 steers and heifers, including 14 Angus heifers 14-16mo av 338kg at $1190 or $3.52/kg from Tuscanna; and seven PCAS-eligible Angus heifers av 324kg at $1210 or $3.73/kg from Noola Estate, Branxholme, Vic.
Again, only a minimal yarding of 17 cows with calves at-foot were offered.
M Phillips, Mount Gambier, made the top money at $2000 for seven two-year-old Angus/Friesian/Hereford cows with seven Limousin-cross CAF, bought by Elders Mount Gambier, which also bought a second draft at $1900.
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