STANDING among the big bidders at the Ray White Rural Crows Nest Sale was a 15-year-old cattle buyer craning his neck to see if the stock in the ring would be worthy of his company's money.
Oakey State High School student Lachlan Darr has bought cattle on two occasions for Oakey Beef Exports now.
Oakey Beef Export general manger Pat Gleeson describes the keen youth, who is undertaking a Certificate III in Agriculture through the abattoir, as being "proud as punch to box on with all the adults” at auctions.
The Year 11 student admitted to a few nerves, buying for Oakey Beef, but said he felt proud to represent them.
"I was nervous at first, but when I started I was right,” he said. "It was pretty cool... it was intense.”
The hardest thing about being a cattle buyer, Lachlan has learned, is accurately working out the mathematics on the fly.
"You have to work out your numbers... while they are in the ring. You have to work out your weights and what they are going to cost while everyone has started bidding.”
Securing the chance to buy for Oakey Beef was as easy as putting up his hand.
"I asked my manager, Kurt Wockner,” he said.
Lachlan had been to cattle sales before, with friends and family, but had never bought cattle.
"They gave us a budget, and we worked out if they were kill cattle or feeders. Then, worked out if they were in the right weight ranges for what they wanted, and then worked out if they would dress and yield to what they expected.
"So I just tried my hardest to get them within those specs - and hoped I got it right.”
The first mob Lachlan bought - 11 head - were backgrounded, and are currently doing a 100-day feedlot program.
Lachlan is eagerly awaiting the results from the full kill sheet, so he can work out if he has made Oakey Beef a profit.
Lachlan wants to establish a career in agriculture and said he was keen for any role in the beef industry down the track.
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