NUTRIEN Livestock kicked off the winter store cattle selling season at the Muchea Livestock Centre last Friday.
Numbers improved from the company's previous sale at the venue in April, with the Nutrien Livestock team offering largely a very good quality yarding of 952 head of local and pastoral origin store cattle.
There were strong numbers of local beef weaners and yearlings, while pastoral numbers remained limited to traditional levels at Muchea store sales due to both favourable and adverse seasonal conditions.
The sale averaged on par with April's sale (600 cattle averaged $1465), with the increased yarding averaging $1463 across all descriptions, driven largely by lotfeeder and grazier interest on local cattle to lift this market on recent sales at Muchea.
Feeder, backgrounder and restocker buyers were more selective on pastoral origin cattle with values varying with quality.
Beef steers topped at $2102 for 330 kilogram steers and 696 cents per kg for backgrounding weights, while beef heifers topped at $1901 and 614c/kg to feeders.
Pastoral breed steers sold to $1698 to feeders for types with strong local influence and 565c/kg for backgrounding weights, while restockers paid to $1908 and 450c/kg for suitable pastoral origin breeding heifers.
The sale commenced with a decent run of local yearling and weaner beef cattle with the sale's top-priced honours going to Tunney Cattle Company, Irwin, for a draft of 10 Angus cross milk-tooth yearling steers knocked down to Nutrien Livestock, Great Southern livestock manager Bob Pumphrey for $2102 at 632c/kg.
Mr Pumphrey continued to pay above $2000 for beef steers, finishing with six pens of feeder weight steers for a Manypeaks account.
Included in the haul were 18 Red Angus weaner steers averaging 320kg from Howatharra Grazing, Howatharra, costing $2073 and 648c/kg and 10 Angus weaner steers weighing 317kg from Willowbrook, Bullsbrook, at $2012 and 634c/kg.
Campbell Nettleton, Harvey Beef, was an influential player throughout the sale and sourced 12 pens of feeder beef steers paying to $2075 at 608c/kg for three Angus weaner steers averaging 341kg from AC & KM Thomas & Co, Three Springs and two pens from the Mt Gerizim Pty Ltd, Dandaragan, Angus weaner draft paying to $1977 at 642c/kg for a steer trio averaging 308kg.
Nutrien Livestock South West livestock manager Mark McKay secured a couple of pens of Angus steers for an order paying to a $2075 top price for 10 Angus yearling steers weighing 320kg from the Walebing paddocks of GM Humphry.
Willowbrook took the sale's top liveweight values with a large draft of 21 Angus weaner steers averaging 270kg knocked down to an Albany account on AuctionsPlus for 696c/kg and $1877.
The next highest price of 694c/kg was bid by Mr McKay for six Angus weaner steers weighing 241kg offered by Walton Family Trust, Gingin, to cost $1673.
The Thomas's Angus steers featured again with four averaging 278kg going to a Nutrien Livestock account for 684c/kg and $1902.
The sale rounded the corner to the strong yarding of beef heifers with A & J Bennet, York, achieving both the section's top prices with their pen of Charolais yearling heifers.
A duo of heifers were marked out from their lighter sisters with the pair averaging 388kg selling for the $1901 top price at 490c/kg while the balance of six heifers weighing 294kg were knocked down for the 614c/kg top liveweight price to cost $1803, both going to Harvey Beef.
Harvey Beef collected a total of 10 pens of beef heifers and included on its account were eight Charolais cross milk-tooth yearling heifers averaging 310kg from Tunney Cattle Company costing $1804 and 582c/kg.
Nutrien Livestock, Waroona agent Richard Pollock was on the hunt for heifers of suitable type and maturity for joining on behalf of a Pinjarra client which will be joined immediately to an Angus bull.
In the local section he collected six well-bred Red Angus heifers averaging 367kg from Howatharra Grazing for $1806 and 492c/kg.
Local Muchea vendors Highway Grazier opened the section with 11 Angus yearling heifers averaging 440kg which were snapped up by Leno Vigolo, Nutrien Livestock, Central Midlands and Wheatbelt, at $1717 and 390c/kg.
Mr Pumphrey returned to the fray to secure six pens of beef heifers for an Albany client and paid to $1677 at 528c/kg for 12 Charolais cross milk-tooth yearling heifers from Tunney Cattle Company and the next highest liveweight price of 588c/kg for 17 Angus yearling heifers weighing 246kg from the Mt Gerizim Farm draft to cost $1447.
It was then onto the pastoral breeds section of the sale.
Among the sale's volume vendors was Charla Downs, Waroona, with a large draft of Shorthorn-Red Angus cross milk and two-tooth yearling steers and heifers.
A line of 27 red and roan coated steers averaging 314kg topped the section's values with Harvey Beef paying $1698 at 540c/kg.
The sale's largest vendor Clare Downs', Esperance and Prenti Downs station, Wiluna, had significant numbers of Shorthorn and Shorthorn cross milk-tooth yearlings which sold to $1683 at 552c/kg for 12 red polled steers averaging 305kg, also going to Harvey Beef.
But it was Nutrien Livestock, Pilbara/Gascoyne agent Richard Keach representing the de Pledge family, Yanrey Cattle Trust, Badgingarra and Yanrey station, Onslow, who dominated this section of the sale to finish with 168 backgrounder pastoral steers.
They paid from 400c/kg to the section's 565c/kg top liveweight for 12 steers weighing 253kg, one of nine pens of steers they included from the Clare Downs draft.
Joe de Pledge and his Badgingarra property (Jutomara Park) manager Don Bradford said they have plenty of feed on hand following a good start to the season.
"We have had 300mm of rain for the year in good timing with some warm days to grow the grass and perennials," Mr Bradford said.
"We looked for backgrounder weights to turn off in February-March depending on the season and market opportunities but we won't be in any hurry to turn them over," Mr de Pledge said.
"But ideally we like to be destocked through autumn for the paddocks to recover for the perennials."
Mr Pollock kicked off the pastoral breed heifers in strong fashion sourcing two pens of well-grown Droughtmaster yearling heifers from Rose Farm Pty Ltd, Myalup, at the top of the market.
He paid the section's 450c/kg equal top liveweight value and $1908 top price for seven heifers weighing 425kg and 450c/kg again for the following pen of 13 heifers averaging 384kg to cost $1727.
Mr Pollock also purchased two pens of grown Angus cross heifers from Browne Livestock Contractors, Namban, for another order.
Graziers snapped up the balance of lighter heifers at good value for money with a South West buyer on AuctionsPlus and Kevin Fowler, representing a Mundijong account, snapping up seven pens each.
A small run of local bulls rounded out the sale with Jamie Davies, Kalgrains, Wannamal, buying seven of the eight pens paying the $1604 top price for two Murray Grey cross weaner bulls averaging 422kg at 380c/kg and 540c/kg top liveweight price for two bulls of the same description, both offered by Banjuna Grazing, Dandaragan.
NUTRIEN Livestock auctioneer and Dandaragan agent Brad Keevers said it was a bit of an unknown among agents how the sale would go with the store market softer recently but was pleased some areas of the market were fully firm to stronger than recent sales.
"There were good numbers of local weaner and yearling steers and heifers with a great run of Angus and the market across all local cattle finished 50-80c/kg above recent sales at Muchea," Mr Keevers said.
"In the northern cattle market, select lines of lightweight steers were fully firm to dearer with the balance equal.
"There was limited competition on northern heifers with values barely equal but some select lines of better-bred lightweight heifers were dearer on recent sales."
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