It's raining dollars as cattle sale records fall
KEN Pengelly was ready to gamble when he opened his wallet at the first Gracemere cattle sale of the year.
Buoyed by good falls of rain over the past month, the Calliope vendor joined the throng of enthusiastic buyers as prices hit record highs.
He said the yarding of 3100 head was driven by the weather and prices reflected the optimism.
"Today's sale is a buyers' market; so far I've bought four pens for roughly $2.10/kg," he said.
"With everything so green we can expect cattle prices to rise, creating an expensive gamble for buyers.
"Prices at the sale have jumped considerably and they will continue to slowly climb over the coming months.
"Rain has been a huge factor with some markets almost tripling in price."
Feeder steers hit an impressive 251c/kg, while light steers in the 200-300kg range averaged 255c/kg.
Weiner steers drove the dearer market with the top pen selling at 288c/kg a head.
Mr Pengelly's property, Gingerbeer Park, received 20mm on Wednesday night with a further 23mm falling on Thursday.
"Just after Christmas it poured for about three weeks and we've only just hit the wet season.
"I can already tell this year is going to be better than the last," he said.
Agents president Brian Dawson said the sale topped record prices at the Gracemere saleyards across the board.
"We've had quite a bit of rain over the past few weeks, but once again it's been patchy, with some areas having very good rain and others unfortunate to miss out," he said.
"The export market and grain fed cattle have also helped lift sale prices."
Mr Dawson said the patchy rain had left producers trying to gauge the future value of their cattle, with people looking to offload in the next couple of weeks.
"Generally speaking, the values have risen by 60c to 80c on pre-Christmas prices.
"Trying to restock will be very difficult at these rates, but sellers were very happy at the sale today.
"It's going to be tough going for people until it settles down a bit and we can see where we're going."
- Fat bullocks topped 243c/kg, $1885
- Feeder steers topped 251c, $974
- Prime cows topped 220c, $1428
- Cow and calf topped $1350