Hereford producers celebrated the market boom at the Hamilton Hereford feature weaner sale with prices hitting $1580.
Hamilton Independent Agents yarded 1651 Hereford and Hereford cross steers, with the market kicking by up to 10c/kg or $185 a head for the heavier pens on Casterton weaner sale.
With intense bidding pressure from lot feeders, grass finishers and backgrounders from the start, cattle weighing 300kg and above did not dip below $1100.
Cattle sold to Dunkeld, Warragul, Leongatha, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Penola, Molong, Bathurst, Queanbeyan, Wellington and Holbrook.
Hereford steers weighing over 350kg liveweight sold for 350-386c/kg, or $1317-$1580 – a rise of 10c/kg or $185 on the Casterton sale.
Autumn 2016 drop steers weighing 250-350kg returned 334-424c/kg or $1064-$1364 – a kick of $48.
Limited lightweight pens weighing 250kg or less remained firm at 421-428c/kg or $847-$1014.
A small offering of Shorthorn-Hereford cross steers sold for 358-413c/kg or $1500-$1557.
In the European Union accredited pens, many lots stayed in the system to return 354-386c/kg or $1323-$1580 for steers over 350kg, and 382-423c/kg or $1077-$1364 for 250-350kg steers.
As an indicator, the Angus sale at Hamilton averaged 388c/kg across the yarding, and 402c/kg for autumn-drop weaners weighing 280-360kg.
The whiteface buying charge was led by Thomas Foods International, securing the first four pens of heavy steers to a top of $1580.
The opening pen of Mt Difficult and Bowmont blood, offered by Stephen Beaton, were EU accredited, weighed 433kg, and bought by TFI for 365c/kg or the overall top price of $1580.
The pen had been judged the Herefords Australia champion pen by Dion Brook, Eloora Shorthorns, Cavendish.
Mr Brooks said the steers exhibited weight for age, evenness, shape, fat coverage and presentation.
“It wouldn’t matter what colour the cattle are here, they are excellent, well presented, docile and weaned,’’ he said.
Stephen Beaton also took out the best presented pen with his seconds weighing 387kg, EU accredited, and selling to Landmark Leongatha for 377c/kg or $1458.
Second top price of the day went to Leon and Sally Wheeler, Wallacedale, with their Shorthorn-Hereford cross steers, 377kg and EU accredited, selling to steer finisher Paul Mason, Wellington, NSW, for 413c/kg or $1557.
The Wheelers also sold purebred Yarram Park and Mawarra blood autumn 2016-drop steers weighing 434kg to Thomas Foods International for 358c/kg or $1553.
Mr Wheeler said weaning had been late due to hay production but he was happy with the weights being 10kg up across his consignment of 202 steers.
Paul and Carolyn Malseed, “Orana”, Breakaway Creek, offered a big run of one mark steers including a pen of 81, Yarram Park blood, 349kg, and EU accredited, selling for 391c/kg or $1364 to steer finisher Paul Mason, Wellington, NSW.
Mr Malseed said the good season had benefitted his consignment of 186 steers.
“Our weights are up 10-12kg in 2017,’’ he said.
“It was great to see JBS Australia putting a floor in the sale.
“It wasn’t that long ago we were receiving 200c/kg and considered that a lot of money.’’
The family sold to a top of $1467 and averaged $1272.
Travis Beaton, Giant Rock Partnership, Wontong Vale, offered 110 steers and was pleased to sell his top pen of steers, 391kg, for $1446 to TFI, with the lightweights up to 406c/kg.
The EU accredited steers were Injemira, Melville Park, Wilkah and Mt Difficult blood.
“This is our annual turn off and last year we received in the mid 360c/kg,’’ he said.
“The weight of the tops is brilliant at 391kg – they are March-April drop and finished on grass only.
“Dad was hoping to get 360c/kg so anything above that was a bonus.
“There won’t be too many people leaving the sale disappointed.’’
Marcus Winter-Cooke, and his daughter Alice, of “Murndal’’, Hamilton, attended the sale to see their top pen of Yarram Park blood steers, 420kg, and EU accredited, sell for $1533.
“The cattle have never been heavier, prices dearer and us happier,’’ Mr Winter-Cooke said.
He said the positive prices over 18 months coupled with the resurgence of the beef industry resulted in strong signals to increase production.
On a cents per kilogram basis, the top price of 428c/kg was paid by Southern Grampians Livestock for a pen of 17 steers, weighing 198kg, offered by Farena.
Among those buying lightweight backgrounding cattle was Ben Emms, Ray White Emms Mooney, Bathurst, NSW.
Mr Emms generally paid over 400c/kg for steers under 300kg to finish on grass on the NSW central tablelands.
Bernie Grant, LMB Linke Livestock auctioneer, described the sale as solid and equal to the Angus sale on some select lots.
“The cattle sold exceptionally well with repeat buyer support,’’ Mr Grant said.
“That support came from TFI, JBS, Gippsland, central NSW and South Australian locals.
“A lot of those cattle were bought to finish for the grass fed heavy steer of 500-600kg, and a good percentage will stay in the EU system.’’