Weaner dip no surprise

WEANER calf prices at the Powranna sale last Thursday fell by a few hundred dollars per head across the board this year as widely predicted.

Nutrien yarded approxi- mately 3700 head in its first major Tasmanian calf sale of the season.

Nutrien livestock manager George Nichols said that last year’s cattle sales had reached some record highs and that the lower prices this year were inevitable and expected.

“Compared to last year, the cattle sold for a few hundred dollars less. We were expecting it,” he said

“We briefed our clients and we had an understanding that there was going to be a correction.”

Mr Nichols said Tasmanian prices for young cattle had followed interstate trends.

“It was a shock to the mainland guys when they saw that correction over weaner selling season and this was our first taste of it,” he said.

“Last year we were at some record highs, to have a market at an all high like that, there has to be a correction.”

Breeder of Shorthorn cattle Rodney Rouse was a spectator for the auction.

Mr Rouse said prices had

dropped because of weather changes.

“We sold on Auction Plus online in January and then the prices were good.”

Most buyers and sellers expected the price drop this time around. Mr Nichols said Tasmania’s cattle market had proved to be stronger than those of the mainland.

“In comparison to mainland market, our market was dearer, we lined up some good quality cattle and they did sell well.”

“We did a lot of work to get guys from mainland to come and buy but couldn’t compete because the market was too strong.”

The most sought-after cattle were the well-bred Angus steer calves weighing around the 270kg to 280kg mark.

The top price for black Angus cattle on the day was $1960 per head at 513kg with the lighter end of heifers easing the most.

Mr Nichols said heifers were a longer-term prospect and put on less weight than steers.

“The cattle that we are going to sell in the next weeks is going to be incredible.It’s a busy time of year for us and there’s been a lot of support for well Tassie bred cattle.”

“We’ve had four or five really good years, this year is down but most farmers know things come in a cycle.”