Cattle man enjoys sale
GERRY Fitzpatrick is one of those bush blokes who understands rural life is all about weathering the highs and lows.
The cattle and grain producer from Dulacca was in the Rose City last Tuesday to sell cattle for the first time through the local sale.
He admits his choice of selling centres was governed not so much by geography or rate but rather proximity to family.
We had a good winter, although it dried off so much towards the end that it impacted on our wheat crop.
His daughter, Melanie Nowlan, and her husband Mick run a stock and station agency in Killarney, so selling cattle through Warwick equates to a chance to see the grandkids.
"It's a pretty good deal in my opinion," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
On Tuesday he trucked in 11 Santa cows, 11 heifers and a bull, admitting the prices "were really reasonable" with the cows selling to a high of $850/head and averaging around $800.
"The season out our way is okay, in fact it is holding pretty well," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
"And prices today were good so I'll probably sell more cattle this way when it suits."
The cattleman also sells through Roma and Dalby, as well as going direct to feedlots depending on the market.
His family operation is run on 1214ha (3000ac) at Dulacca and a second 445ha (1100ac) block at Wandoan, with both properties benefiting from rainfalls of 10-15mm recently.
"We had a good winter, although it dried off so much towards the end that it impacted on our wheat crop.
"The crop came off at just three-quarters of a tonne to the acre, but without the crown rot and the frosts we could normally count on 1.25t an acre at least," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
The upside is grain prices have kicked significantly compared with last year.
"The good thing was we had a 500t contract to Theiss for their Condamine feedlot just down the road and that was $280/t delivered.
"That's compared with $180/t last year. So what we lost in the yield we picked up in the price."
Quizzed about how the quality of cattle on offer in Warwick on Tuesday compared with his recent trips to other selling centres Mr Fitzpatrick said: "The quality and condition of most pens was very good."