GLEN INNES agency Colin Say and Company will celebrate 60 years in business with a its first standalone weaner sale on April 6.
The 3000-head yarding features a number of large lines, including 170 Angus and Angus-cross, European Union-accredited yard-weaned steers from the Landers family, Crossmaglen; 100 Angus steers and 50 Angus-cross steers, EU-accredited, from Yarraford Station; 120 Angus and Angus-cross steers from the Ulrick family at Springfield; and 150 EU-accredited Angus steers from Clarevaulx Station.
JM Wheatley, Rosedale, will sell 200 Angus and Angus-cross mixed sex weaners and 150 Charolais-cross mixed sex weaners; Valma Partnership, Valeview, will sell 150 mixed sex weaners, including the full drop of heifers; and the Dunn family, The Falls, will sell 150 Angus steers, 50 Angus heifers and 30 crossbred steers.
One of the biggest lines will come from Allan Fletcher, Glenroy, Glen Innes, who will have 220 steers on offer.
About 90 per cent of the steers are pure Angus and the remaining crossbred calves.
Mr Fletcher started breeding about seven years ago after switching from a finishing operation.
“When I started I bought Glenisa bulls but the stud’s sale date has since changed and now doesn’t suit my operation, so I’ve bought Ascot bulls for the past couple of years, and I’ve also purchased bulls from Swanbrook Angus near Inverell,” he said.
He chose Angus because of the breed’s ability to sell into any market.
“They’re always a very saleable item. When you're selling, whatever market, Angus cattle are easier to sell.”
With bulls, he looks for good temperament, milk figures and strong estimated breeding values for 200- and 400-day weight and eye muscle area.
“I pick out a bull because of his figures, but he's also got to appeal to me,” Mr Fletcher said.
“I try not to buy a bull that’s low on milk figures and for the replacement heifers, it’s got to be a low birthweight bull for ease of calving.”
A focus on milk has paid off, with the calves usually reaching top weights of about 300 kilograms at seven to 10 months of age.
“The calves all come straight off their mums,” Mr Fletcher said.
“It’s all supered country with phalaris-based improved pastures,”
Mr Fletcher said he wasn’t expecting the same record results as last year, but still hoped for a strong market.
“Last year was unbelievable,” he said.
“We had a fantastic season and the majority of calves weighed well.
“The top two pens weighed 344kg and sold for 417 cents a kilogram so they made over $1400 a head.
“I sold 138 steers and they averaged almost 320kg and 417c/kg. It was a terrific return.”
It was Mr Fletcher’s first time selling weaners.
“Normally I’d hold onto them and get them to 400kg or more before sale, but it was a good opportunity to sell,” he said.
“I’d looked at the market and my female herd had increased, so even though it was a good season, I would have been battling to keep them anyway.”
This year’s calves will be much lighter due to tough seasonal conditions over the past few months.
“We had a good spring and early summer, then it turned bad in late summer.
”It’s a big change from the lead up to selling weaners last year. That was a terrific season so there were no setbacks for those calves.”
Being part of a sale which includes large lines of cattle could pay off for Mr Fletcher.
“There are some nice big lines of good quality weaners in this Colin Say sale.
“My top 150 steers are really well-bred calves that people can buy with confidence.
“They'll do a good job for the buyer, whether they go to backgrounders, the feeder market, or they’re grown out.
“We’re right in the hub of the northern weaner sales, so buyers can come knowing that they're getting big lines of quality cattle.”
The Colin Say and Company Premier Weaner Sale is at the Glen Innes saleyards on Friday, April 6, starting at 9am. Weaners will be curfewed overnight and sold on a cents per kilogram basis, with calves to be weighed after the sale.
The Colin Say and Company sale will be followed by the 10th annual Armitage and Buckley weaner sale at Armidale saleyards, starting at 1pm.