Life Flight cattle auction

Life Flight cattle auction

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A chance conversation has morphed into what will hopefully become a major fundraiser for aeromedical charity Life Flight.

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FUND RAISER: Organisers have been amazed at the indications of support received for a cattle auction that will benefit aeromedical charity Life Flight (formerly Care Flight).

FUND RAISER: Organisers have been amazed at the indications of support received for a cattle auction that will benefit aeromedical charity Life Flight (formerly Care Flight).

Grant McNamara, manager of The Ridge cattle property near Stanthorpe, is relatively new to the Stanthorpe district having taken up his role two years ago when The Ridge came under new ownership.

Keen to support the local Show coming up in early February 2017 he spoke to president of the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society Brett Boatfield about entering some cattle. The conversation turned to fundraising for charitable causes and the idea of donating the proceeds to Life Flight was born.

For Grant this particular charity organisation was probably in his subconscious as The Ridge is on the flight path of airlifts from Stanthorpe hospital and he regularly hears the unmistakable whop, whop, whop of the big turbine powered helicopters.

Furthermore, he probably owes his life to rapid-response aeromedical care.

At the age of 19 he was working in the Aramac district when he became seriously ill with appendicitis and presented himself to the local hospital.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service was called in but the doctor determined that Grant’s condition was such that an airlift was not an option.

Instead, they emptied the old surgical facility at the hospital which had been used as a store room for eight years and performed the necessary surgery on the spot.

FUND RAISERS: Scott Pavey (from left), Peter Bonner, Michael Boucher, Grant McNamara and Brett Boatfield discuss Life Flight cattle auction fundraiser at Stanthorpe Show Society saleyards.

FUND RAISERS: Scott Pavey (from left), Peter Bonner, Michael Boucher, Grant McNamara and Brett Boatfield discuss Life Flight cattle auction fundraiser at Stanthorpe Show Society saleyards.

To progress the idea of fundraising for Life Flight, Grant approached the owners of The Ridge to see if they would sell him some suitable cattle which he could then enter into the Show and donate the proceeds.

The owners instead said that they would donate the cattle themselves and this provided a core to build upon.

Grant has contacted a number of people since and has been amazed at the indications of support that he has received.

He puts this down to the fact that most people recognise aeromedical services as an essential part of life in the bush so if it is not supported there will be no point in complaining when it is not there any more.

On that point Nikki Bloom, community engagement officer for Life Flight (previously known as Care Flight) told me that they are about 65pc government funded and have to make up the rest themselves.

Just how important it is to make up that difference can be drawn from the fact that every time one of those helicopters takes off it costs a minimum of $13,000.

As well as promises of donated cattle, there have also been offers of transport and fuel to get the cattle to the Show. Agents have also joined the cause with offers to donate their service costs to maximize the fundraising effort.   

And to add something different, agricultural supplies business Wilshire & Co in conjunction with Agricon Products have donated a pallet of lick blocks which will be offered in one of the sale pens instead of cattle.

The opportunity to participate in this very worthy fundraiser is open to all cattle producers and associated businesses and Grant is hoping for support from as wide a catchment as possible.

The auction will be on the first day of the Stanthorpe Show on Friday, 3 February 2017.

Grant can be contacted on 0410 047 496.

Slaughter numbers hold as year winds down

WITH the end of the processing year now well in sight numbers are continuing to flow through with MLA reporting 132,018 as the national (eastern states) tally for last week.

While this is down slightly on the previous week’s kill of 136,000 it is still maintaining the mini surge in numbers that began in late October and has run since at an average of more than 131,000 head.

One large southern Queensland processor increased its kill last week but Queensland numbers overall dropped by 2500 head to finish the week at 67,411 and New South Wales was down by 1100 head at 30,681.

Victoria on the other hand should be in the midst of its seasonal high flow but it is rapidly becoming a question of whether any substantive surge is going to materialise.

All things considered, Victoria’s kill could reasonably be expected to be in the mid to high 20,000 range by now but it continues to languish in the low 20s. Last week’s kill was 21,585, little different to what it has been since mid year.

Roger Tweddle, livestock specialist for Victorian agent Alex Scott and Staff said there was an expectation that some processors might be about to step up a bit from the short weeks that have prevailed for some time now but it is hard to see just how sustainable that might be. He quoted the company’s auctioneer at Pakenham who said there would normally be a yarding of around 1500 at the Monday sale this time of year but the last two weeks have been 800-1000 head.

The huge body of grass that has come as a result of the unusual spring rainfall has no doubt set some sales programs back but it was also a case that the number of fattening cattle that they would usually buy for their clients was well down this year.

Prices too tell the story with good bullocks in Victorian saleyards averaging 307-309c/kg compared to 302-303c/kg for equivalent cattle in southern Queensland. Normally this time of year Queensland prices would be well ahead of Victoria.

Over-the-hooks rates in southern Queensland remain unchanged on recent weeks with four tooth ox quoted at 540c/kg and heavy cow at 485. These rates will flow through to year’s end.

Processors contacted earlier in the week had yet to finalise kill dates but those who are breaking for Christmas are expected to wind up by Friday, December 16.

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