Buyers looking for quality weaners need to make sure they are headed to Mt Barker for the Elders Great Southern All Breeds Feeder and Weaner Show Sale.
In the special weaner sale, on tomorrow Monday, November 20, at the Mount Barker Regional Saleyards, the Elders Albany and Mt Barker teams will offer 1100 steers and 200 heifers.
Prior to the sale commencing at 11am all the weaners will be judged as part of the show, which will incorporate one of the WA Charolais Society's sponsored Charolais 'Silver Calf' weaner competitions.
With many of the weaners being offered by long-term return vendors, buyers will be able to have confidence in the lines on offer having seen them in the sale in previous years.
An added bonus for buyers this year is this sale will be the first in WA to offer calves which have been accredited through the Elders Feeder Ready Program.
The Elders Feeder Ready Program was launched in September this year, in response to feedlot and backgrounder demand for correctly prepared cattle.
Elders Albany livestock production sales adviser Tiarna Wallinger said Elders Feeder Ready was an audited weaning program in Australia and had been designed to meet industry expectations and best-practice animal welfare standards.
"The innovative program is designed to prepare cattle for backgrounding or feedlot entry, while maintaining industry-standard animal welfare protocols," Ms Wallinger said.
"The program helps give buyers the confidence in the product they are buying and sellers the ability to put to market a healthier and better prepared animal that is fit for purpose.
"We want our clients pushing high standards of animal welfare and offering a product which is fit for market.
"The program is designed to get the calves to the feedlot in the best possible condition so that when they get there, they are - ideally - efficient on feed straight away and have reduced health issues.
"We are very excited about being able to offer the program as we see it as the next step forward for the industry as it encourages industry best practice in line with supply chain and consumer expectations.
"Weaning is something that may not have been done in the past as there is a belief the animal goes backwards and loses weight.
"But it really is the best thing for the animal in the long-term as it reduces the stress on them once they leave the farm which means you get the best performance out of them in their new environment."
For calves to be accredited through the program they must be weaned for a minimum of 10 days, had a Clostridial vaccination twice (with no more than eight weeks between the doses) and also a Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) vaccination.
It is also recommended that they receive trace minerals and Pestigard.
Ms Wallinger said to receive the certification, calves were inspected post weaning for temperament with the aim of having well settled cattle that are easy to handle.
"We also view all vaccination records to ensure that they meet the requirements of the program," Ms Wallinger said.
"Once we are happy that all the criteria have been met for the program, the animals can be tagged with the Elders distinct Feeder Ready Program pink ear tag.
"The tags are easily recognisable in the yards and provide buyers with a guarantee they are purchasing correctly weaned and vaccinated calves."
Elders Albany livestock manager Wayne Mitchell said they were excited that the sale would be the first in WA to offer calves which have been accredited through the Elders Feeder Ready Program.
"It has been pleasing to see a number of our vendors have taken this program on," Mr Mitchell said.
"As a result, there will be a good number of the weaners in the offering that will be accredited which should give buyers more confidence they will be ready to go when they get them home.
"In addition to the accredited calves that are weaned, there also be a large percentage of the rest of the yarding which will also be weaned for buyers.
"Some of the calves will have been weaned for up to a month come sale day and since weaning they have been running on good feed."
Mr Mitchell said the offering will feature a very good line-up of weaners from in the main return vendors that have supported the sale in the past years.
"The majority of the calves are from the Walpole, Denmark, Albany and Mt Barker areas and they will present extremely well and will be of similar weights to previous years," Mr Mitchell said.
"Primarily the offering will be made up of steer calves and the majority of these will fit into the 340 to 380 kilogram weight range which feeders are looking for.
"There will also be light steers suitable for backgrounders in the yarding as well but not as many as in past years."
There will be a number of long-term vendors to offer large drafts in the sale and these include Hillcrest Farms, Walpole and Yarralena Grazing, Cranbrook, which have both been vendors in the fixture since its inception.
Hillcrest Farms will offer 100 Angus steers based on Te Mania and Landfall Angus bloodlines that are certified through the Elders Feeders Ready Program.
Mr Mitchell said the calves would be weaned a month come sale day.
"When they were weighed a few weeks ago they averaged more than 330kg," he said.
"These calves have a reputation of very good feedlot performance."
Other vendors to offer Elders Feeder Ready accredited calves include BJ & SW Driscoll, Napier with 40 Angus steer calves sired by Quanden Springs bulls, Stoney Pastoral, Gnowellen with 20 Black Simmental-Angus cross steers by Stirling End bulls and Austin Park, Napier and Castle View, Narrikup, with 30 Angus steer calves each.
Yarralena Grazing has nominated 100 Angus steers based on Gandy bloodlines which would suit backgrounders at 270-320kg.
Another regular vendor GJ & LJ Hick, Napier and Narrikup, will present 90 Charolais cross steers that are sired by Silverstone Charolais bulls and out of Shorthorn, Shorthorn cross and Murray Grey cows.
Dunross Investments, Walpole, is again on the vendors' list with 100 weaned Angus calves (60 steers and 40 heifers) based on Ballawinna bloodlines and Mr Mitchell said there would be calves in this line both suitable to feed or background.
The Matthews family, Kangarabbi Farms, Narrikup, which has been another long-term vendor, will also be one of the larger vendors with an offering of 70 weaned Gelbvieh-Angus cross and Angus calves (40 steers and 30 heifers).
The line is sired by Summit Gelbvieh bulls and Mr Mitchell said it would be a very good line of feeder calves.
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