A heifer called Camel stars at the 53rd Alice Show as cattle sales bring good prices

Brooke Weir, 10, from Ammaroo Station north-east of Alice Springs stole the show when her heifer called Camel was judged the champion female.
She was one of hundreds of locals entering their exhibits in the 53rd Alice Springs Show.
Brooke (pictured at right) raised the Santa Getrudis heifer she found her as a poddy calf at one of the station’s watering points, abandoned by her mother.
Brook bottle-fed her for six weeks and now Camel spends her days in a paddock near the homestead.
Meanwhile Beef Central reports that the best pens of locally bred milk-tooth steers above 350kg nudged above $1.90 a kilogram liveweight at the annual Roe Creek store cattle sale near Alice Springs on Thursday (pictured below).
Most pens were carrying extra weight-for-age compared to last year’s yarding, ensuring that dollar-per-head returns were firm, despite a slip in rates on a cents-per-kilogram basis.
All told, 30 buyers, including a number of returning bidders, registered at the Bohning Yards for this year’s yarding of 3600, including T&R Pastoral, Murray Bridge, SA; Princess Royal, Burra, SA and Elders’ Charlton Feedlot, Victoria.
Both T&R’s Peter Bond and Princess Royal’s Simon Rowe secured about 400 head each.
There was also a sprinkling of live export demand on appropriate lighter steers and bulls.
Swift Australia’s Cameron Hilton was also prominent in his purchases, among them the standout pen of 126 Poll Hereford milk tooth, EU-accredited steers in from the Cadzow family, Mt Riddock Station.
The pen, averaging 366kg, sold for the top yearling price of $1.96/kg, with a second draft of 40 steers at 331kg selling to Princess Royal.
Steven Cadzow said his family’s 166 steers were second-round weaners aged between 12-18 months.
“We’re very happy with their condition and the way they’ve sold,” he said.
Another standout sale was the sole pen of pure Angus cattle, in from the Smith family, Tieyon Station which sold for $1.92/kg. The draft of 60 steers, 14 – 16 month old, averaged 371kg.
Vendor Paul Smith said he was very happy with his calves, especially on a weight-for-age basis.
“These steers are one of the heaviest lines of weaners we had ever offered at the sale. At the end of the drought we got down to an average of 244kg for the sale steers,” he said.
Territory Rural McPherson Alice Springs director Jock McPherson, said healthy competition from a range of buyers ensured prices were in line with expectations.
Mr McPherson’s company sold 1900 head in conjunction with Trailco.
“We were very happy with the sale, prices were where we would have wanted them to be,” he said.
“Even the lighter cattle were making over $1.90/kg for the better runs of young Poll Hereford steers in that 300 – 350kg range.
“And the heifer job held up well too, with top prices above $1.70/kg, which was quite exceptional really.”
Mr McPherson said a large portion of the yarding was bound for southern feedlots.
“Most of the pens here comprised milk tooth cattle, carrying a fair bit of weight, and these were suitable for T&R, Princess Royal and Charlton Feedlot,” he said.
“As we came down in the weight ranges, there were plenty of Hereford calves also going to the feedlots, mostly for the domestic market.”
Grass fatteners from Queensland competed with some local restocker inquiry for other lines of red crossbred cattle.
“The little bit of local support was excellent, with Alcoota Station buying some good red steers. It’s always very satisfying to see cattle from this sale staying in the district,” Mr McPherson said.
Alcoota Station’s Chris Nott bought four decks of Santa steers at about 350kg for an average price of 185c/kg.
“We’ll grow them out as grassfed bullocks to about 550kg,” he said.
As Alice Springs regional chairman of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, Mr Nott said he thought vendors had enjoyed a “good sale”.
“I thought it was probably back 5-10c/kg on last year. If you look at those Mount Riddock cattle, they made $2.06/kg last year and this year made $1.96c/kg,” he said.
But considering freight costs of 20-30c/kg and comparable rates from recent sales elsewhere in Australia, the consensus from agents and vendors was that prices were realistic.
Landmark Alice Springs branch manager Anthony Hyland said this year’s sale welcomed an estimated 10 new bidders to the buyers’ gallery.
He said British cross milk-tooth steers in the 320 – 400kg range in particular met strong demand from western NSW and Qld.
Mr Hyland said an overall highlight was the sale of mickey bulls from Wally Klein, Orange Creek, which sold to a live export buyer, believed to be for a Middle Eastern order, for $2.20/kg.
In other sales, 240kg steers from Deep Well averaged $1.80/kg, while a line of Braford/Hereford cross steers from Victory Downs averaged $1.72/kg.
The ‘first pen’ curse struck for Waite River’s 23 milk tooth steers, averaging 381kg, which sold below market rates at $1.79/kg.
Other opening pens included Umbeara’s 90 red steers averaging 372kg and making $1.81c/kg to T&R, with a further 91 at 341kg going to Charlton for $1.86c/kg.
Bond Springs sold 35 milk tooth Poll Hereford steers at 363kg for $1.84/kg.
MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service analyst Chris Bailey quoted prices for most milk-tooth yearling steers at $1.65 – $1.96/kg. Mr Bailey said overall 2729 steers sold from $1.30 – $1.96/kg or $335.50-$920.80 a head.
“Red Angus steers sold between $1.81-$189/kg, with the British cross $1.73 – $1.77/kg. Santa Gertrudis prices ranged from $1.55 – $1.92/kg, with more than two teeth at the lower end. A few Charolais cross steers sold at $1.79/kg. Droughtmaster steers sold between $1.60 – $1.82/kg,” the NLRS report said.
“The heifers were harder to sell at times with the weaned Hereford heifers from The Garden topping $1.80/kg.
“However most other Hereford heifers sold from $1.64-$1.74/kg, with the British-cross at $1.59/kg. Small lines of Droughtmaster heifers sold at $1.50 – $1.53/kg.”
NLRS said the 990 heifers yarded sold between $270 – $648.70/hd, or $1.20-$1.80/kg.

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