There may have only been a small crowd at the Naracoorte combined agents' PTIC female sale last Thursday but breeding females were still in strong demand.
The sale's $4060 high came well into the 1236 head yarding with 17 two and three year old cows from Limestone Ridge Estate, Coonawarra.
The 11 Angus and six Angus-Herefords, which were joined to a Boonaroo Angus bull to calve from early March, were knocked down to Thomas DeGaris Clarkson Penola account AG&AM Clifford.
Michael Mattei, Williup, Hynam, who has specialised in buying weaners and mating them for this breeder sale for the past 20 years, topped the PTIC heifer offering at $3980.
His 18 Angus heifers had been bought as weaners a year earlier from KP Pastoral, Frances, and mated to low birthweight bulls from JB Angus stud, Naracoorte.
The 566kg heifers sold to PPH&S Penola account Kentish Downs.
"Some years you do it for not much so it is nice to jag a win sometimes," Mr Mattei said.
Williup's 210 autumn calving Angus and Angus crosses averaged an impressive $3650.
This included 15 Angus, which Mr Mattei had bought as weaners from Karana Holdings. They made $3880.
Mr Mattei said not that long ago he never could of dreamt that breeding cattle would be worth this much and was cautious the "unprecedented prices" may not hold.
"I am buying in at $500-$550 more than last year but they are a bit better cattle too so I know I can grow them out and calve them down if I need to," he said.
"The $2200 we are seeing for weaners might only get to $2500-$2600 (as mated heifers) next time."
Another feature of the yarding was an outstanding run of 238 February/March 2020 drop, Angus and Angus-Simmental heifers from the Hann family, Nampara Pastoral Company, Biscuit Flat, which averaged $3616.
The Hanns have specialised in buying top quality weaner heifers , particularly chasing cattle from their Nampara stud clients.
These large framed heifers are mated to yearling bulls from the stud for seven weeks. The bulls are then offered for sale at Nampara's annual auction the following year.
Nampara's third pen in the sale realised the most money.
These 10 February/March 2020 drop heifers made $3920 selling to Elders Lucindale account Seriston Pastoral Company, Avenue Range.
The Higgins family, Hendels Pastoral, Kingston SE, secured the previous pen of 10 for $3900 through Spence Dix & Co.
"It was probably a couple of hundred dollars more than I thought but they are good heifers with weight and frame and we buy Nampara bulls for the herd," Brad Higgins said.
Despite prices coming up a bit short of the exceptional $4100 high the Hanns received for the same aged PTIC heifers at Mortlake, Vic, the previous week Nat Hann said they were still very pleased with the Naracoorte result.
They averaged $700-$800 more for their draft than 2021.
Other notable sales included CD Baker & Sons, Avenue Range, who received $3760 for 10 Angus and Angus-Shorthorns which were in calf to Angus sire Nampara Altitude.
NA&KJ McLean, Penola, sold 12 rising two year old, EU accredited, Lanark bld Angus for $3740.
WG Hamilton & Co, Millicent, dispersed their Glatz blood Angus females for strong prices.
Seven cows due on their second calf made $3660, while 10 third calvers sold for $3600.
Marjong Park, Furner, received $3980 for 24 Simmental/Angus cows with 1-2 month old calves which averaged 97kg.
Elders auctioneer Ronnie Dix said the sale was to expectations but there were a few more pens of PTIC heifers in the $3700-$3900 price bracket than he had expected.
"As good as the job is or as weak as it is at times pregnant females are never overly dear."
"Eighty to 90 per cent are repeat buyers looking for specific lines. They have got plenty of money receiving $2100 to $2300 for weaners so to get pregnant heifers they were happy to go to $3700-$3900 on the big girls," he said.
Mr Dix said the sale rarely attracted a big crowd but acknowledged that it was one of the smallest crowds he had seen for the feature female sale. He put this down to the sale being interfaced with AuctionsPlus and escalating COVID cases.
There were 117 registered bidders on AuctionsPlus with 165 online bids and 14 pens selling to five different online buyers from NSW, Vic and SA.
"People are more aware of the virus being out and about and if they don't have to be there to buy they are staying away," Mr Dix said.
"Having said that there weren't many at last week's weaner sale either but it was still a strong sale, we saw 90 per cent of that yarding sell to five fellas."
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