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Cattle numbers up in Warwick as first frosts arrive

YARDINGS BOOM: In a week that saw huge yardings nationally, Warwick’s cattle sale was no exception as 2167 head passed through the gates last Tuesday.
YARDINGS BOOM: In a week that saw huge yardings nationally, Warwick’s cattle sale was no exception as 2167 head passed through the gates last Tuesday. Emma Boughen

ABOVE-average yardings at last week's Warwick cattle sale coincided with inflated numbers right across the nation, including a near-record-breaking attendance of 13,206 head at Roma last Tuesday.

The 2167-head yarding at the Warwick cattle sales last Tuesday was more than double that of the previous week of April 22, when just 1017 animals were yarded.

This meant an increase of 1150 head.

Warwick saleyards superintendent John Bourke said the increased yardings were due to a combination of the abnormally short three-day week topped and tailed by Easter Monday and Anzac Day the previous week, coupled with a need for producers to offload cattle before winter.

"In shorter weeks, producers are sometimes hesitant to sell as exporters don't have that extra day to process," he said.

"So all of those cattle that had been held back hit the market at once."

McDougall's & Sons' stock and station agent David McIvor echoed those sentiments.

"Many people had been sitting on the fence, so when the market kicked the previous week, the market was flooded," he said.

The week of March 22 saw the highest prices we'd seen in many years. After all, it's supply and demand that controls the market.

"This, of course, meant we saw prices slip back.

"The week of March 22 saw the highest prices we'd seen in many years. After all, it's supply and demand that controls the market."

After 16 years working at the saleyards, Mr Bourke said he never thought he'd see the numbers these past few months had brought.

"After we nearly hit 2800 head, everyone said we'd never see numbers like that again," he said.

"And yet we keep seeing them. It makes you wonder where they're all coming from."

Although last Tuesday's sales were unusually high, it was by no means record-breaking as, just this year alone, 2798 head were yarded on March 11, which also made for a record number of cows at 951 head.

As for market predictions, Mr McIvor said it was hard to tell where the market was going from here.

"I expect we'll see a reasonably large yarding next week," he said.

"People will be offloading before winter - the rain at the end of last week came too late for grass-growing."

Warwick sale

  •  2167 head were yarded, an increase of 1150 animals from the previous week.
  •  Good heavy cows sold to a top of 160.6c/kg to average 20c cheaper at 149c/kg.
  •  Heavy bulls sold to a top of 161.2c/kg.
  •  Bullocks sold to a top of 191.2c/kg to average 184c/kg.
  •  Medium-weight yearling steers to feed sold to a top of 202.2c/kg to average 180c/kg.

Topics:  cattle prices livestock markets warwick