Sellers’ market returns to cattleyards
LIVESTOCK agent and auctioneer Dan Sullivan summed up Gympie's first cattle sale for the year when he said, "it's good to see a turn around".
Walking through the sale yards, it was heartening to see 830 shiny cattle in good condition - cattle which this time last year stood in dusty, bare paddocks.
Mr Sullivan said sellers were even higher than he thought they would be. Feeder steers sold well at 250 cents/kg.
"The market was very strong, better cattle sold particularly well," he said.
"There was a good line up of competition, good local cattle and good representation from feedlots and farmers."
Weaner steers bought 260 cents/kg, while weaner heifers were trading between 205-220 cents/kg. Heifers reached 240 cents/kg.
Gympie farmer Murray Hickmott was happy to hear those prices called out.
In July last year he sold steers for 190 cents/kg. Yesterday those cattle would have been about 250 cents/kg.
"They're up to where they should have been," he said.
"Feeder cattle in the Northern Territory last year were seeing the same money we're seeing today. It's all looking good.
"By the end of the year, we might be looking at $3/kg; that's just my opinion."
While farmers were happy to see healthy cattle, green grass and rain, for some buyers prices were just too high. They said it was a seller's market.
Kingaroy cattleman Lawrie Hayden has paddocks full of feed but he said he may consider baling the grass if prices stay where they are.
"At the moment what you're paying, unless there is a lift economically, you can't make it work," he said.
It was a similar position for John Kahler, of Kingaroy.
"I've never seen cattle as dear as this," he said.
But Coles Creek cattleman John Warren said for the last 18 months it had been a buyer's market and it was good to see the change.
He sold 45 heifers yesterday, getting around 240 cents/kg, 70 cents more than he made last year.
"I was hoping they (prices) would be something like that," he said.
While some buyers may have preferred a few cents less, there was agreement around the yards that things were looking up.
"There seems to be a rally of confidence, it's amazing what feed and rain can do," Mr Sullivan said.
He said prices should remain steady for the upcoming meatworks and liveweight sale on January 19.