Sales on the move for cattle

CATTLE business is booming down at the Emerald Saleyards, with more head than ever before being sold through the gates on a weekly basis.

The new format of combined weekly prime and store cattle sales seems to be paying off, with the average number of head passing through the gates significantly higher than in previous years.

Prior to 2011, Emerald played host to alternate weekly sales of prime and store cattle, but now the regular options available to both buyers and sellers seemed to be attracting numbers.

“It has been a really good start to the season,” Emerald Livestock Selling Association president Tim Maguire said.

“There are a number of factors that have really bolstered numbers and we just hope it continues as we head further into the year.

“The mix of a great season and high demand has been really good for us and those are probably the two biggest factors leading to the high numbers.”

Mr Maguire said at the start of the year an average of 2000 to 2700 head were being sold at each weekly auction, and if numbers like that kept up, Emerald could expect to come close to selling 90,000 to 100,000 for the year.

That was close to a third higher than the total sold in the 2009-2010 financial year, which equated to about 67,000.

Mr Maguire said although the numbers had dropped slightly over the past couple of weeks, he held high hopes for the remainder of the season and believed the new weekly format would continue to attract producers from other markets.

“The fact that we’re selling on a weekly basis, means we are attracting a lot of guys from other areas that we weren’t necessarily before,” he said.

“We are giving producers the chance to sell cattle whenever they are ready to, no matter what week it is.”

Despite the possibility of Emerald attracting foreign business, reports from Clermont’s monthly combined sales were positive as well.

Isaac Regional Council public relations and media officer David Witty said numbers were good at the February and March sale, with more than 1100 head changing hands at each.

But Mr Witty conceded the number of prime cattle was down from previous events.

Both groups agreed that the poor conditions of many roads were still hampering some producers from getting cattle to the yards, which could have dire consequences on their financial management.

“Just like any other business, the monthly bills, wages and costs will continue to pile up,” Mr Maguire said.

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