AMHERST CIRCUIT SALE
83 yearling steers to $2070, av $2030
1951 weaner steers to $1885, av $1660
531 heifers to $1690, av $1389
The first South East weaner sale of the season, the Amherst Weaner Circuit sale at Willalooka set a blistering pace on Monday with spring 2019 drop steers topping at $2070 and weaners hitting $1885.
It was a reflection of the red-hot cattle market but also the outstanding Black Simmental-Angus and Angus weaners from Ian and Louise Johnson's three properties, Amherst, Wittalocka and Moville.
The draft of mainly February-March 2020 drops were easily the heaviest weight calves offered in the history of the on-farm sale.
They had been weaned since mid October.
Five guest vendors boosted the 2500-head yarding with their well-bred Angus weaners.
The sale's top price was $2070 for two pens of September 2019 drops at Wittalocka which weighed 461kg.
This smashed the $1390 top price from 2019.
RELATED: SE steers peak at $1390
The 42 sale-topping, Angus steers had been run at the Johnson family's Elgin property at Clay Wells.
The EU-accredited, Stoney Point blood Angus were bought by Princess Royal Station, Burra through FarmGate Auctions which the blue ribbon sale was interfaced with for the first time.
About 150 potential buyers logged on to watch the sale online.
FarmGate also bought two pens of 427kg Angus steers at $1990.
The lead pens at Moville- the final stop in the sale- provided the highest steer weaner prices.
The 40 February-March 2020 drops, which were Black Simmental-Angus made $1885, paid by JBS.
Creek Livestock's Scott Creek was one of the volume buyers securing 360 steers for client Chris Perry who was buying them for the third year in a row.
Their tally included the first four pens at Amherst, weighing 390kg to 418kg, for $1800.
Mr Creek described prices as "very realistic" but acknowledged there was a premium paid to secure big runs of cattle.
"The early sale suits us a little better so there are on grass while there is still goodness in it," he said.
"Even if it is 10-15c/kg dearer than January we are working on the theory that we had extra feed this year and we would have had them for 40 days come January and we could of put 40kg on them by then."
The majority of the heavy weights will be sold to feedlots in April.
Other major buyers included Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn & Steen Penola, Miller Whan & John Mount Gambier and Merrett Livestock, Millicent.
Spence Dix & Co's Keith based agent Craig Escott won many of the heifer bidding duels including the top pen paying $1690 for 36 Angus heifers, Stoney Point, Mandayen and Bull Oak Well blds from Amherst, 385kg.
They were bought for Long Trail Farms, Pinnaroo, who also snapped up the highest price heifers at Wittalocka- 28 Angus weighing 365kg for $1650.
The Johnson family's 391 Amherst steers averaged $1710 ($4.84/kg), their Wittalocka weaner draft averaged $1684 for 467 steers and their 492 steers at Moville averaged $1652 ($4.74/kg).
Their 95 Wittalocka heifers averaged $1355 and 182 Moville heifers averaged $1394.
Among the guest vendors, WR Jackson, Willalooka, sold 187 steers for a $1584 average and 161 heifers for a $1352 average.
Lines Family Trust, Keith, received some of the highest cents a kilogram rates with their 66 steers at Amherst averaging $1584 ($5.17/kg) and another 172 steers at Wittalocka averaging $1649 ($4.93/kg).
Rockallen Pastoral Co, Willalooka, sold 102 steers to $1710, averaging $1642 ($4.90/kg).
Fortune favours the brave and there was plenty of bravery shown by buyers here today.
Spence Dix & Co director and auctioneer Jono Spence said it was the best circuit sale "by a mile".
"I don't suppose in our wildest dreams we thought we'd see $5/kg and $4.50/kg and $5.80/kg liveweight for weaner cattle - it's unfathomable," he said.
"We are in that much unchartered territory (price wise). Fortune favours the brave and there was plenty of bravery shown by buyers here today."
Mr Spence said the trade was strong with three feedlots operating as well as repeat grass finisher buyers who knew the performance of the cattle.
Amherst's Ian Johnson was also rapt with the result and thanked the Spence Dix & Co team for their hard work.
"You have expectations and goals and then you have hopes- it is probably up in that top end of what we hoped for," he said.
"It (The cattle market) is up in that new stratosphere but the bullocks are making what they are making and old cows are making $2000."
Mr Johnson said they often had a few heavy pens but this year it was pleasing to be able to put together large runs of heavy weight calves.
"We've had a good spring and a mild winter which has helped and we'd like to think our genetics are getting better every year too."
At the conclusion of the sale the vendors donated $5000 to Spence Dix & Co's Movember cause which helped Spence Dix hit their $10,000 target raised for men's health.
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