THE state's week-long lockdown has had no impact on the sizzling cattle market with prices at the Naracoorte combined agents' monthly store sale on Thursday as much as 20c/kg stronger than the previous month.
The expected 1200 head yarding was back to 857 head by sale day, with several vendors choosing to withdraw their lots.
But those who did go ahead with offering cattle were rewarded, with the major feedlotters lifting their sights and several big orders from grass finishers in the small crowd.
Seventeen March/April 2020-drop steers from GK&KL Turnbull, Mingbool, made a spectacular $2753 - easily topping the sale.
The 554kg Angus which had been purchased as young weaners nearly a year at Naracoorte for $1150 sold for $4.97/kg to Garrison Cattle Feeders, Swan Hill, Vic.
Another pen of the Turnbulls' milk and two tooths made $5.52/kg to Thomas Foods International.
Thomas DeGaris & Clarkson auctioneer Hayden Lambert, who sold theTurnbulls cattle, said they were among the highest priced store cattle he had ever sold but expected prices would remain near these levels in the short term
"It is continuing to get dearer and dearer with the lack of supply of cattle ," he said.
"It will be interesting to see come October-November how many bullocks we see turned off and whether they are there or have already been sold as feeder cattle because cattle have been making so much money."
Mr Lambert said the lift in on-hook prices had seen more people selling bullocks for more than $3000, giving them more money in their pocket to purchase their next cattle.
Longtrail Farms, Parilla, received $2410 for 18 spring 2020 drop Angus, 438kg, while another of their pens, eight weighing 396kg made $2160. Both pens, weaned in March, were knocked down to TFI.
There was a 5-10c/kg premium for EU-accredited cattle including 11 Angus steers weighing 390kg from RF&JE Dickenson, Naracoorte, which made $2380 and 11 Simmental crosses, 368kg, from Yarlalla Pastoral, Keppoch, which sold for $2070.
Both these pens were knocked down to TDC Keith.
Langkyne Estate, Naracoorte, received $2100 for 10 Angus crosses weighing 371kg, while another four weighing 338kg made $1880.
It is hard to get your head around what will happen going forward.
Three pens of Angus steers from Willoway Farming - the first cattle to be sold under Ben and Anthea Brinkworth's new trading entity - also attracted strong competition with the 46 March/April 2020 drops making close to $6/kg.
Willoway's agent Adam Bradley, Platinum Livestock, Keith, was "very happy" with the result for the 336.3kg cattle and described the market as the strongest store sale he had seen in his 20 years as an agent.
"It is hard to get your head around what will happen going forward. We are a long way off the next lot of weaners in November-December and it looks like a good spring flush both locally and interstate," he said.
Wonarah Pastoral, Padthaway, received $6.40/kg for 25 Angus. The 283kg Bull Oak Well and Granite Ridge blood steers sold to Kaicowrie, Penola.
On a cents a kilogram rate heifers came close to matching steers.
Telk Pastoral received $2054 (or $5.04/kg) for eight April/May 2020 drop Angus weighing 407.5kg.
DH Prosser & Son, Marcollat, received $1990 for 15 Shorthorn-Angus heifers, February-March 2020 drop weighing 383kg. Another 18, 311kg heifers from Prossers made $1800.
Six 368kg Angus heifers from Penrose Pastoral, Keith, made $1890 to TFI who also bought 12 Angus heifers from LG&EM Melville, for $1850. These were 368kg.
A few pens of lightweight heifers hit $6/kg plus including Wonarah Pastoral who were paid $1710 for 17 259kg heifers, equating to $6.60/kg.
PS&CJ Bowman, Lameroo, sold 18 Morganvale bld Hereford heifers for $1700. They were 278kg.
Cows with calves topped at $2860 for eight Angus first calving cows with nine young Speckle Park-sired, calves from Gumlea.
They were knocked down to Spence Dix & Co Keith.
Pinkerton Palm Hamlyn & Steen director Richard Harvie said it was an "unbelievable market" quoting feeder steers up to $80 to $100 dearer than the last month.
While there were not many steers in the 220-300kg weight range he said these lighter weights also sold well making $6/kg-$6.50/kg.
Mr Harvie said heifers were $50 to $120 dearer than the previous month's sale with most trading between $5.20/kg-$5.80/kg.
" You can just see now with some of the (on hooks) grids out that there is no differentiation between steers and heifers and heifers are starting to push not that far under the steer price," he said.
Mr Harvie said recent rain had turned the season, giving people much more confidence than two or three months ago to "take the punt" and pay a bit extra to secure cattle.
"Everyone seems to be getting used to this market money, the processors are chasing grinding beef and that end of the market is lifting to $8.30/kg (carcaseweight) into the spring for prime cattle so I would think this job is looking pretty solid for the next 6-12 months," he said.
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