Dusty wallets as season dries up cattle confidence
FARMERS praying for gloomy skies are holding on to their cattle in the hopes of brighter prices.
At last Tuesday's cattle sale in Sarina there was a smaller herd of buyers and sellers, with about 50 people shuffling along the metal pens.
With five pens of her Brahman cross steers sold at auction, Slade Point cattle producer Linda Morris said prices were weaker than last fortnight's sale.
Ms Morris said the prices ranged from $630-$1130 for her steers.
Ooralea resident Allan Cameron said two weeks ago the same cattle would have sold for $90 per head more.
"The buyers aren't here today," Mr Cameron said, "they've got less to choose from".
Landmark Mackay livestock agent Paul Cooper said the small yarding was due to three sellers pulling out at the last moment, withdrawing 90 head of cattle from the auction.
Within just half an hour the 220 cattle were all sold.
A major buyer at the sale, Eimeo cattle producer Trevor Post, walked away with a herd of 13 new steers and micks - with one pen of four Mia Mia micks bought for just $270 per head.
"You pay for what they are - if they're good cattle they'll get good money," Mr Post said.
"There's not a lot to pick from. That's the nature of the beast at the moment"
Mr Cooper said he expected more cattle to come to market - and prices would rise - as soon as it rained.
"The physical market is getting dearer and they're waiting for the storms," Mr Cooper said.
"(Then) the price will go like a skyrocket".
But the dry has created opportunity for some, Mr Cooper said.
He said some producers were trapping "bush cattle" that had wandered onto their properties in search of water.
Mr Cooper said the quality of the wild cattle was worse than others, and auction prices for the trapped cattle ranged around the $250 mark.
Sarina Market Report
Provided by Landmark Mackay
Landmark yarded 110 steers, 30 micks, 60 heifers, 20 cows, for a total of 220 head.
A smaller yarding this week of mixed quality cattle. Prices were firm on last sale.
Older Steers No. 7's and 8's $630 - $1190
Weaner Steers No. 9's $400 - $700
Older Heifers No. 7's and 8's $760 - $1070
Weaner Heifers No. 9's $420 - $640
Micks $270 - $550
FM Cameron, Balnagowan, sold 30 Brahman cross No. 7/8 steers for a top of $1190 averaged $1030.
G & V McFadzen, Sarina Range, sold grey Brahman No. 9 steers for $700.
V & C Dawson, Sarina, sold Droughtmaster cross No. 8 heifers for $1070.
Sam Deguara Holdings, Calen, sold grey brahman No. 9 heifers for $640