The Yarn: Livestock routinely trucked “across Belgium” and back

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

By AuctionsPlus

Following a trend that is emerging across both cattle and sheep markets, buyers from South Australia and New South Wales drove up prices at the annual 'Back To The Wheatbelt’ sale in Western Australia this month.

Lincon Gangell tells us a line of 1.5-year-old ewes made $220 (and that’s before you factor in freight across this wide, brown land).

That top price for 329 big-framed Ronern blood ewes leaving the paddocks of R Dunwell & Son in the Wheatbelt town of Yealering was paid by a buyer from Deniliquin, New South Wales.

Those sheep, alongside the second top-price draft and two other lines also went to the Deniliquin buyer who was reporting sourcing replacement ewes, travelled some 3000 kilometres to their buyer.

Then there was a large draft of 726 unshorn Lewisdale-Corrigin wether lambs who also made the nationwide journey from Hyden to a buyer in Wagga Wagga, while 182 Kolindale and Strath-Haddon 1.5yo ewes, along with five other lines of ewes, headed to South Australia.

“We’ve had a lot of our lines go to South Australia and New South Wales. Really, they’re buying whatever they can get because there’s no sheep available to buy in the east,” Lincon Gangell of Westcoast Livestock said.

“This is only the second time we’ve done our Back to the Wheatbelt sale on AuctionPlus, to give everyone a chance to buy without geographical barriers. We had only one Western Australian buyer on AuctionsPlus, and plenty of locals active in the sale yard - though mostly they were buying on behalf of eastern states.”

Some 45 registered bidders logged in from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, resulting in seven active online bidders placing 40 online bids across nine lots at the sale.

“I expect the market will stay fairly strong, as there are not too many sales left in the Wheatbelt this year and the demand due to lack of numbers in the eastern states is keeping pricing strong,” Mr Gangell said.

Similar trends can be seen in the movements of Kimberley cattle.

According to Todd Walsh of Northern Rural Supplies, poor conditions in the Kimberley have increased a need to offload cattle which has fortuitously met demand from eastern states.

“We haven’t had a good wet season for a couple of years here, so we’ve had to take stock off our books. Sellers are mainly getting rid of heifers to the east where the demand is proving pretty powerful,” Mr Walsh said.

Over the last four months, steers and heifers have been sold out of the Kimberley over to southern Queensland and northern New South Wales buyers.

“Pricing has been good and we’ve been able to offload articles that aren’t usually well sought after.”

Mr Walsh expects good interest at the last sale in the region for the season, Fossil Downs this Friday 16 October 2020.