BUYERS and vendors from far and wide flocked to the Mount Gambier and District Saleyards on Wednesday for the facility’s first sale of the decade.
The Glenburnie facility processed 1731 cattle, with 19 bulls, 456 bullocks, 1019 vealers and 737 cows.
Sheep and lamb were also on deck, with a yarding of 7148 comprising 6645 lamb and 503 sheep.
A small increase in cattle from the same time last year was recorded.
Temperatures rose to around 30C on the day, with auctioneers and agents battling through the heat to get the job done.
Creek Livestock agent Scott Creek said pricing took a dip at the opening sale, which he believed was due to the current bushfires.
“Bullocks were around 15c cheaper,” he said.
“Young cattle were between 15 and 20c cheaper on steers, while grown heifers were about 10c cheaper and vealers approximately 20c.
“A lot of the price reduction was due to the bushfires and processors doing what they can to help out.
“They have moved back on kill spots to help fire affected regions kill more of their stock as they have no land or feed to keep them.”
Mr Creek said the reduction meant stock was being held off from the market.
“We had cattle to go next week but we are pushing them a few weeks due to the fires,” he said.
“We will see this kind of impact for at least six weeks, but 10 to 12 weeks is looking more likely.”
Despite the bushfires, Mr Creek had an optimistic view of the year to come, after markets performed well in 2019.
“We had a pretty good season for 2019,” he said.
“Cattle prices dipped a bit, but bullocks were still up to that 700kg plus mark due to a good pastures.
“So the cheaper prices were offset by the heavier cattle.
“We saw an influx of cattle during spring due to over supply which had an impact, but overall it was a solid year.”
For 2020, Mr Creek expects markets to peak.
“Last year we saw lamb as best as we ever have and we expect a similar result this year,” he said.
“We should see cattle close to or as good as we have ever seen.
“Lamb will continue the trend from 2019 and could even do better than before.”