DRY conditions have resulted in large lines of good quality calves for the upcoming CTLX Carcoar Blue Ribbon Weaner Cattle Sale.
The annual feature sale is one of most well regarded sales in NSW and will include about 10,000 weaners.
Angus breeder Cyril Wills, from Weowna, between Mandurama and Canowindra, is selling about 550 six- to eight-month-old mixed sex weaners in the March 29 sale.
Mr Wills normally sells a portion of each drop — about 200 to 300 head — as weaners, growing out the rest to feeder weights.
The feeder steers usually go to Kerwee Feedlot and excess heifers are exported live to China and Russia and breeders.
The weaners are predominantly KO Angus blood, but Mr Wills has also used genetics from Orange-based stud Denholm Glen Angus and Aristocrat stud at Nowra.
"About 10 years ago my brother and I got to know the owner of Aristocrat and now we take his whole drop of bull calves at weaning, grow them out, then use what I want for myself and sell the rest," Mr Wills said.
"It's good for him and gets me some very affordable bulls."
In a normal season he'd run about 1700 breeders on the 3035-hectare property, but he's dropped numbers to between 1300 and 1400, and he's preparing to sell another 250 cows after the weaners are sold to make the operation more manageable going into winter.
About 70 per cent of the property is improved pastures including phalaris, cocksfoot and clovers, along with some cropping country.
"We fed from March to September last year with feed that we had on hand like silage, as well as cottonseed and nearly 1000 big squares of oaten hay, but there's not going to be the capacity to feed the way we did last year because the feed isn't there.
"We're hoping to be able to get away with a small amount of supplementary feeding with pellets for the weaners that we're keeping, and we're still waiting to see what the season will do before we decide what to feed the cow herd.
"We'd normally sow 400 to 500 acres (162ha to 202ha) of gazing crops. The oats is dry sown but we won't sow the grazing wheat until we get rain."
All sale calves have been yard weaned on pellets and straw for five days, and they'll be fed up to sale time.
"They're just run on pasture with mum then taught to feed in the yards at weaning, so they're ready to go for anybody wanting to put them on feed. A small number are sold locally, but a lot of them over the past few years have gone to backgrounders in Queensland, because we're selling in big lots which is what the backgrounders like."