The weaner selling season got underway in grand style on Friday last week, with weaner steers averaging in excess of $2200 and $7 a kilogram at the Amherst Weaner Circuit sale at Willalooka.
Close to 2500 predominantly February to April-drop Angus and Black Simmental/Angus weaner steers and heifers from the Johnson family's Amherst, Wittalocka and Moville properties plus steers and heifers from four guest vendors were offered.
The total offering of 2137 weaners steers sold to a top of $2480 and averaged $2218 at $7.28/kg, with the 337 heifers selling to $2090 and averaging $1881 at $6.74/kg.
With last year's results - where weaner steers averaged $1660 and heifers $1389 - described as unfathomable by agents, this year's sale reached a new stratosphere.
"It was very exciting and I think that's where the market is currently," Amherst's Ian Johnson said.
"I think the sale was helped by the latest round of weather in NSW, but I didn't think it was going to be that fierce for that long.
"I thought in dollars per head terms that might be where the heavier cattle might be, but we were pleased that those dollar per head rates didn't shift too much right through the sale.
"With competition so fierce currently, people who are taking those cattle right through to bullocks next year aren't as hung up on $/kg rates. It's more about buying a nice article than something at a favourable $/kg rate."
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The sale's highest-price run of steers was 60 Lancaster Simmental, Stoney Point and Bull Oak Well Angus-blood steers from the Johnsons, av 358kg, at Moville which sold to Creek Livestock for $2480 or $6.93/kg.
Two more runs at Moville made $2400 - 88, 330kg steers from the Johnsons equating to $7.27/kg and a further 16, 395kg Moville steers equating to $6.08/kg.
At Wittalocka, 90 Bull Oak Well, Baynes and Mandayen Angus-bld steers, av 346kg, were knocked down for $2460 or $7.11/kg to Thomas Foods International, with 85 April-May drop Stoney Point and Mandayen Angus-blds, av 320kg, from Lines Family Trust, Keith, making $2390 or $7.47/kg.
Getting the sale underway at a blistering pace were 90 Stoney Point, Bull Oak Well, Coolana, Mandayen and Allendale-bld Amherst steers, av 369kg, which sold to Creek Livestock for $2370 or $6.42/kg.
A further 145 of the same description from Amherst but weighing 342kg were knocked down for $2350 or $6.87/kg, while 50 Mandayen Angus-blds, av 330kg, from Rockalen Pastoral, Willalooka, made $2300 or $6.97/kg, and 27 Roseleigh and Mandayen Angus-blds, av 370kg, from Bergan Park, Keith, made $2300 or $6.22/kg.
The highest on a $/kg basis were 32, 248kg steers from Lines Family Trust, which made $2000 or $8.06/kg.
Wayne Jackson, Yardookra, Willalooka, received $1670 or $7.99/kg for 24 Stoney Point, Bull Oak Well, Coolana, Mandayen and Allendale-blds, av 209kg, with Lines Family Trust making $1970 or $7.91/kg for 40 Pathfinder and Mandayen-blds, av 249kg.
The Johnson's 1519 steers across Amherst, Wittalock and Moville averaged $2252 at $7.24/kg, with their 97 heifers averaging $1814 at $7.25/kg.
Lines Family Trust sold 284 steers to a $2390 top, averaging $2124 at $7.60/kg, and 40 heifers to $1890, averaging $1873 at $6.91/kg.
WJ Jackson averaged $2067 for 182 steers at $7.51/kg, and sold 164 heifers to a $1900 average at $6.58/kg.
Averaging $2285 for 55 steers at $6.61/kg was Bergan Park, who also sold 36 heifers to a $1988 average at $6.20/kg.
Rockalen Pastoral's 97 steers averaged $2201 at $7.05/kg.
Spence Dix & Co director and auctioneer Jono Spence said it was the vendor's "day in the sun" after years of hard work.
"Those families and vendors involved in the sale have been doing the same cow calf production for many years and Friday was a huge reward for that," he said.
"You go a long way to find a yarding of weaners where they're all properly weaned. With all the extra care our vendors take with their health protocols the cattle go on and perform straight away for their buyers."
Feedlotters and backgrounders were the main buyers according to Mr Spence, who said buying through AuctionsPlus was also strong - 21 lots were sold to seven different buyers, with online bidders active on 37 of the 89 lots.
"Cattle went as far as Tamworth and Glen Innes," he said.
"The rain and favourable season in the east, as well as the shortage of livestock, resulted in great demand."
The sale's highest-priced run of heifers came from Bergan Park, with 20 of their February-March-drop Roseleigh and Mandayen Angus-blds, av 343kg, knocked down for $2090 or $6.09/kg to Creek Livestock.
Eighty heifers, av 315kg, from WJ Jackson attracted $1960 or $6.22/kg, with 23 March-April drops, av 271kg, from Lines Family Trust making $1890 or $6.97/kg.
Leading the way on $/kg were 25 Lancaster Simmental, Stoney Point and Bull Oak Well Angus-blds from Moville, which sold for $1750 or $7.78/kg through AuctionsPlus.
A further 30 heifers from WJ Jackson, av 239kg, sold for $1810 or $7.57/kg.
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