Calves tipped to cool

TASMANIA’S autumn weaner sales will start next week and agents are expecting strong buyer demand. However, prices this season are expected to fall from last year’s record levels due to easing market conditions. Selling agents estimate per head prices could be down between $300 to $400 compared to last year, but still well above the longer-term averages.

The season will kick off with Nutrien’s sale at the TLX at Powranna on Thursday, when about 4000 cattle are expected to go under the hammer.

Nutrien state livestock lead George Nichols said the season had been favourable for cattle.

“The calves are looking good and there’s certainly a lot of condition on the cows,” he said. “There’s always a fair bit of attention for this first sale, it’s a bit of a feature and we’ll have quite a few calves there.” Mr Nichols said while cattle would present well next week, prices were expected to ease.

“We’re expecting averages to be $300to $400 back from where we were last year. “I’m cautious about saying that though, because we were coming off a fairly phenomenal level.”

Mr Nichols said it would be interesting see where the young cattle end up with last year a large percentage going interstate.

“We’d had a fair bit of attention and there was a lot of competition. Our cattle tend to be a bit lighter than in the mainland calf sales, so it’s cost effective getting numbers across the water. But I think it will be the local guys who take advantage of the market.”

Mr Nichols said there was a level of mainland interest. “The quality of the cattle here is well known and that’s what people are looking for.”

Elders’s sales will start with the annual Angus feature sale on March 16, with about 2500 head.

The next sale will feature Herefords and similar numbers. Elders livestock manager Greg Harris said the quality of the calves was very good. “We’ll see if people are going to rush at it, having plenty of feed or hold some back for later.” Mr Harris also expects prices this year to ease.

“We’ve seen it on the mainland and it will be the same here,” he said. Mr Harris said there had been some enquiry from interstate. “We’ve been talking to a few, but their market is probably even a bit tighter than ours is. “They’ll come for the quality calves, they always do, but it’s just a matter of how many they’ll actually buy,” he said.