SEJ Auctioneer James Kyle knocked down a significant number of store cattle at VLE Leongatha last Thursday to Thomas International Foods (TFI), a large feedlot in South Australia. M202817

Elders’ stockmen Michael Foote and Jarod Dubignon had a busy morning at Leongatha VLE Saleyards penning up a special draft of store cattle from Ensay to boost numbers at Leongatha. M222817

THERE was a smaller yarding of store cattle at VLE Leongatha Saleyards last Thursday and if it wasn’t for a special draft of young cattle, sold on account of JA Commins of Ensay, by Elders (200) and SEJ (100), there would have been precious few from which to choose.
In any case, it wasn’t easy for locals looking for young cattle to feed on with a buyer for Thomas International Foods (TFI), a large feedlot in South Australia, very active in the market last week, putting a solid floor under the price paid.
In total, there were 1104 cattle yarded, of which 508 were heifers, 546 were steers, one bull, 14 calves, 17 cows and calves, and 17 young bulls.
Bidding started strongly enough with a pen of nice black steers, 490kg average, sold on account of Shellcott Partnership Foster knocked down for $1520 a head by SEJ auctioneer James Kyle.
A pen of six black steers sold by the same vendor, 480kg average, sold for $1450 as the market got rolling and an excellent pen of 13 steers (average 450kg), offered by S&T Holch, “just down the road” at Leongatha South, made $1400, also going to TFI in South Australia.
“The prices are still pretty good but we’re definitely into our winter numbers now,” said Terry Ginnane of Landmark in Leongatha.
“TFI are often quite active here, competing for young cattle which is why some people are going that way now (producing young cattle instead of bullocks).”
Not only do the feedlots complete with local fatteners for young cattle, they also boost numbers of finished bullocks at the other end, potentially tempering the price at the top end as well.
The cattle market is a lot more sophisticated than it looks.
Michael Foote of Elders was delighted his firm was favoured by the special draft of cattle from Ensay.
“These cattle have been on agistment down here because the season’s finished up there,” Mr Foote said.
“He said the sale of the cattle in South Gippsland offered an option for local bullock producers as well as the feedlots active in the market.”
Record low winter rainfall in most parts of the state has been especially savage in parts of East Gippsland, forcing producers up in the eastern ranges to consider their options.