WINNING a big bet on Melbourne Cup Day wasn’t confined to Flemington Racecourse or those having their annual flutter.
According to Dumbalk farmer, Adrian Harris at the Leongatha Saleyards last Thursday, local farmers probably had their most successful Melbourne Cup Day ever last Tuesday when up to 60mm of rain arrived to secure the 2018-19 season locally.
“You couldn’t have a better Melbourne Cup Day than that. Forget about winning on the races, South Gippsland would have had their biggest collect ever after that rain,” Mr Harris said.
It was the theme of the day.
There were smiles all round and as the rain pelted down on the iron roof of VLE’s Leongatha Saleyards, the smiles of beef producers, dairy farmers and stockmen grew wider the heavier it got outside.
And their enthusiasm for the 3600 store cattle on offer was on a high as well with strong bidding right through.
Those beef producers who opted to hold back numbers when they heard of the big market needn’t have worried. Everything sold well, including those drafts of cattle from central and east Gippsland where the wicked drought has already ruined the season.
Their loss, unfortunately, was our gain but some consolation at least that they can still get good prices when quitting their stock.
The cruel nature of the drought was easy to see in the finish of some store cattle located in close proximity but in vastly different condition.
Where Terry and Jackie Donchi of Alberton West say the 50ml they received will boost pasture that’s still holding on, allowing them to make hay and silage, while also securing the summer feed crops already growing strongly, just 10km down the road at Dean Foat’s place at Woodside, the 42ml he received came too late to make a difference.
“It’s too late for us. We’ll probably get a green tinge out of it but we’re too close to the warmer weather now to get much growth.”
For all that though. It was a very buoyant scene at the Leongatha Saleyards last Thursday as producers compared notes on rainfall and talked up the prospects of more.
Landmark’s Brian McCormack was among the first auctioneers to sell cattle on the day, he said indications were good of a strong market.
“It’s solid with what’s been going on elsewhere. The cattle we’ve got here today from East Gippsland will do well when turned on to our grass. We’re fortunate to be able to take advantage of that,” he said.
“We’ve got 50 cows and calves in there today, the last cattle of a client of ours from Stratford. He’s just got to let them go. I hope they go well.”
“This rainfall here will take us through to Christmas. It was absolutely ideal.
“We’ve already had a good silage season, there’ll be grass up to Christmas and hay to follow.”
Simon Henderson of Phelan and Henderson wasn’t surprised to see some producers hold off after they heard a big number was drawn for but it still amounted to one of the biggest sales of the year with good results all round.
Rain was ‘biggest Melbourne Cup win’ for local farmers