Damien Minogue of Rodwells and Co in Leongatha moves cattle in ahead of last week’s store sale at Koonwarra. m021617

PRICES for cattle are still at record highs, despite a blip in the market prior to Easter, but according to local farmer and cattle buyer, Ross Svenson, it’s getting “interesting” for producers.
He says that after the initial flush of funds, which flowed the farmers’ way, the margins were getting tight again at the present high levels, with the big outlay to buy in young stock a worry for fatteners.
“A lot of people are running understocked at the moment, because of the high prices (of young replacement cattle) and they’re looking at other strategies too, which is why there’s been a lift in the value of cows,” Mr Svenson said.
“But there are a lot of costs associated with cows and calves.
“If you’ve got 100 females, you might get 95 calves. You’ve also got to keep a couple of bulls and there’s often problems with them. Getting young cattle to market isn’t as simple as it sounds.”
But with store cattle so pricey, there are choices to be made, and producers are being forced to consider their options and the greater risk associated with carrying expensive young cattle.
Mr Svenson said that even the most inexperienced rural landowner had been able to turn a profit in the past year, due to the strong lift in prices, but agreed it would start to get interesting for those who didn’t watch their costs closely in the months ahead.
He was chatting with the ‘Sentinel-Times’ at the end of last Wednesday’s trade and export market at VLE Leongatha where only a small yarding of 330 export cattle and 145 trade cattle were entered, a quarter the size of the previous week’s offering, and with one less export buyer operating.
Damien Minogue, branch manager at Rodwells and Co in Leongatha, said that while prices had eased on the day, all of it was down to a reduction in quality.
“The quality simply wasn’t as good today with fewer cattle in before the Easter break.
“The job’s still very good,” he said as he helped yard young cattle for Thursday’s store sale.
While prices eased from 10c to 20c across most categories, grown steers still sold from $1335 to $2080 a head, averaging $1829 to $1970 for the heavier types and between $1335 and $1835 for the medium weights.
It’s still pretty good money.