Bracken Ridge Tavern hosts champion steer luncheon

While certainly not making light of the early signs of drought quenching spring rains over much of the country, that is fantastic, but I also have also found a new watering hole. On Wednesday I ventured out to the Bracken Ridge Tavern to their annual Champion Steer Luncheon. What a great venue and a great concept.

Thanks to my good friend Terry Nolan, Nolan Meats Gympie, for inviting me to this top event. Nolan Meats of course supply the top beef to The Bracken Ridge Tavern and also the Breakfast Creek Hotel.

Hosts Michael, Jenny and Ben White of the Bracken Ridge have been running the concept for the past nine years, in a similar vein to what my old mate Sam Gullo does at Breakfast Creek. Michael tells me he buys one of the Champions from the Brisbane Exhibition and has it processed by Brad Cammack at Rode Meats.

Then they invite friends from the industry to a lunch to raise money for worthy causes. This year’s major beneficiaries were Cystic Fibrosis, A.E.I.O.U. and Queensland Hotel Care.

The Champion steer we dined on was exhibited by West Moreton Anglican College and so it was a nice gesture to support our youth in their Rural Science studies and then turn their efforts into raising funds for worthy causes.

Apart from bumping into friends Garth Hughes, Lex Heinemann and Ben Forest from my rural connections I met publicans and brewers from all over Australia like Mark Powell and Damien Mori from Loin Brewing, Peter Harris NSW brewer of craft beer Kosciusko Pale Ale.

I sat with friends Mark Woolley from McInnes Wilson Lawyers, Terry Nolan of Nolan Meats, Justin Williams and Scott Takken from MOCO Food Services.

Emcee Pat Welsh introduced guest speaker and Olympic swimming coach Michael Bohl, who told of the joys of coaching dual world champion Mitch Larkin, gold medallist Stephanie Rice and his own daughter Georgia Bohl.

What I didn’t know was that Michael was such a big supporter of the beef industry having taken a novel approach to promote beef breeds of the world on a monthly menu. To date he has featured the Canadian Speckle Park, Aussie Brangus, African Nguni and French Blonde d’Aquitaine. Top work to the White family where you can sample beef breeds of the world and never have to leave Bracken Ridge.

I was saddened to hear from my colleague Helen Walker of the passing last week of pastoral identity Jimmy Matthews. Helen has this sad happening covered on page 13. Jimmy was a colleague, client and mate. My deepest sympathy goes to Jimmy’s son Ray, daughter Leanne and their families.

Local agents were breaking records at the Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange (NVLX) where they sold 3000 head yesterday at the monthly store sale. Agents involved in last week’s sale at Barnawartha included Brian Unthank Rural, Paull and Scollard, Peter Ruaro Livestock/Rodwells and Shubert Boers.

Among the record breaking sale, the Buckingbong EU Herd Dispersal, EC Seidel & Sons sold PTIC Heifers aged 20 - 22 months for $3060. This price not only topped the sale, but the Australian record price for joined Angus heifers. Buckingbong also topped the sale with 50 Angus Steers at an average weight of 303kg, selling for $1350.

Vendor, EC Seidel & Sons had a fantastic day at NVLX , where they sold the last of their cattle in what agent Michael Unthank describes as the “end of an era with fantastic results”.

Ian Seidel was pleased with the results of the sale. “We did have a good sale. It’s got a lot to do with the facilities and how they’re presented. I have always been impressed with the agents work here and the promotion in the lead up to the sale.”

Angus livestock weren’t the only breed to reach new heights with 30 Hereford Steers owned by R & GF Zauner Pty Ltd making $1330/head with an average weight of 323kg sold by Peter Ruaro Livestock/Rodwells.

RLX regional operations manager, James Thompson, said it had been the best start to spring sales in decades.

“The market will continue to remain strong and this is being seen across all eastern states. It is great to see such a positive vibe in the livestock industry. The atmosphere at NVLX certainly reflects the record breaking results being seen at the site.”

The NVLX store market continues to be strong and will remain the same well into 2017 with the Annual Weaner Sales kicking off on January 5.

Meat & Livestock Australia reported the Australian cattle market edged lower again this week, bearing the weight of the seasonal rise in supplies. As widely reported though, the seasonal flush is, and will continue to be, at a much lower degree than in previous years, on the back of pasture availability and the significantly eroded national herd.

At the same time, imported 90CL (90pc Chemical Lean) beef prices to the US remained subdued, on the back of thin trading and many US importers taking a wait-and-see approach.

However, when imported 90CL prices are overlaid with Australia’s national medium cow indicator, the difference between the two has never been so close.

In fact, the downward trajectory of imported 90CL prices continues to be the result of greater US beef production, increased competition from other meat proteins on the market, and an appreciation of the A$. All these factors have led to imported manufacturing cow meat prices to the US averaging 16pc below year-ago levels, at 541Ac/kg for October.

Australia’s saleyard medium cow indicator has actually appreciated 16pc over the same time frame, on the back of the extremely tight cattle availability and widespread feed and water causing restockers to inflate the market.

The result is the two indicators lying just 30c apart for October – easily the narrowest the imported 90CL relative to medium cows have ever been. The previous time the two were somewhere as close as they currently lie was October 2004, when there was a 45Ac/kg difference.

Jason Thomson, Schute Bell reported the wool market continued its recent positive trend this week with all Merino types receiving solid support. The benchmark Eastern Market Indicator closing at 1331 cents is its highest closing level since July 2011. The wool market has diverged significantly over the past 12 months with the Merino Fleece sector on average around 15pc dearer while broad Crossbred types are up to 25pc cheaper over the same period.

The charts look positive with this current run up nowhere near as sharp and steep as some of the past that generally led to the downside being just as steep. 33,346 bales were sold nationally for the week with 3.5pc of the offering passed in. Buying interest was again widespread with robust competition in the sale rooms.  Major buyers included Chinatex, PJ Morris and Techwool.

Forward market activity was also solid this week with improved volume traded out until April next year. Prices for 21 micron even changed hands slightly above the physical whilst 19 micron contracts were around 30 cents off the pace. It will be interesting to see how the market handles an additional 10,000 bales on offer next week.