Sarina Range grazier Glenn McFadzen at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale. Photo: Zizi Averill
Sarina Range grazier Glenn McFadzen at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale. Photo: Zizi Averill

Dry conditions evaporate cattle sale confidence

THE crowd at the Sarina cattle sale thinned only slightly when the rain started to fall.

This was what the farmers had been waiting for.

"The rains are on their way - at least I hope. We all hope," Mount Martin grazier Trevor Lyons said.

Like many of the 60 cattle producers watching the auction on Tuesday, Mr Lyons said he was waiting for the dry season to end before he brought his cattle to market.

The past two Sarina sales were cancelled by Landmark Mackay, and Mr Lyons said the dry conditions had evaporated buyer enthusiasm.

The Leap graziers Steve Robertson and Myra Robertson at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale. Photo: Zizi Averill
The Leap graziers Steve Robertson and Myra Robertson at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale. Photo: Zizi Averill

But the return of rain would bring a wave of new hardships for drought-affected farmers The Leap grazier Steve Robertson said.

"They're going to be looking to restock in the hundreds. With the premium prices it's going to be tough," Mr Robertson said.

He said the demand for female cattle would be extraordinary.

The October update to the Meat and Livestock Australia industry projections reported an "unprecedented" slaughter of cows and heifers across the country.

"On a 12 month rolling basis, the female percentage of adult slaughter stands at 54 per cent, as the turn-off of breeding stock remains at an unprecedented level, ultimately leading to fewer calves," it warned.

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'Friendly rivalries' at play in cattle pens

Ilbilbie resident Dave Staines at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale. Photo: Zizi Averill
Ilbilbie resident Dave Staines at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale. Photo: Zizi Averill

Concerned by the female cattle scarcity, Ilbilbie resident Dave Staines said he was shocked by the price of weaner heifers, which ranged from $320 - $490.

"I can't think why the female cattle are so cheap," Mr Staines said "with the shortage of the female cattle you would think they would be more dear."

Mia Mia grazier Tony Bennett said quality was the reason behind some of the lower prices, as many of the cattle at the auction appeared "drought affected".

 

Graziers said some of the cattle at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale appeared
Graziers said some of the cattle at the Landmark Mackay Sarina cattle sale appeared "drought affected" after the long dry season. Photo: Zizi Averill

 

Mr Bennett pointed at a pen of brahman cross steers he suspected were weaned off their mother too early, likely out of desperation.

While the higher quality steers sold for as much as $1350, Landmark Mackay reported the "lighter, plainer types" fetched cheaper prices.

Sarina Market Report

Provided by Landmark Mackay

Landmark yarded 130 steers, 90 heifers, 15 cows and calves and 10 micks, for a total of 245 head.

A gallery of buyers competed on a generally good quality yarding. All grades met strong competition, with some lighter, plainer types showing slightly cheaper trends.

Sale Quotes

Older Steers No. 7s and 8s $720 - $1350

Weaner Steers No. 9s $350 - $540

Older Heifers No. 7s and 8s $500 - $1030

Weaner Heifers No. 9s $320 - $490

Cows and Calves $870 - $990

Vendor Highlights

Harris Investments, Bowen, sold crossbred No. 8 steers for $875

Seven Mile Brahmans, Gargett, sold Brahman cows and calves for $990 and No. 8 Brahman heifers for $1030

Rodney Stokes, Bloomsbury, sold 20 Brangus No. 9 weaner steers for $520



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