Soaring heat greets Casterton’s annual New Year stock sales
HOT weather and sheep and cattle sales seem to go hand-in-hand at the Casterton Saleyards’ annual New Year sales and the start of the sales last Friday did not disappoint those in the know.
While most buyers and interested spectators are aware the sales are held during the hot summer season and the saleyards can be uncomfortably hot as, no-one would have anticipated the mercury rising by midday to around the 40-degree mark, which is more than 100F on the old scale.
Landmark Casterton started the season with a sale of mutton sheep at 10.30am as the temperature hovered around the mid-30s and it was obvious the weather outlook for the day caused many owners and watchers to opt to stay home for the day.
Greg Bright had the small crowd in his hands as he moved from pen to pen selling sheep in a matter of seconds.
He transferred to store sheep and lambs at noon as the temperature soared to 40+ degrees and made it a very uncomfortable day in the sun. Everyone received a brief respite in the afternoon when the store sheep and lambs sale began in the saleyards’ shed, with its welcome shade.
The sales continue on Monday with the temperature still in the high 30s with the Ray White-Keatley sale of 1500 quality mixed sex weaners and yesterday when independent livestock agent JP Darcy held its weaner sale at 9am, the temperature had cooled off slightly.
Elders will stage its 58th annual steer weaner sale at the saleyards with 3000 head of stock on Friday starting at 12noon and the following week (January 18) it will sell 1800 heifer weaners at the saleyards starting at 12 noon.
The sales are the lifeblood of Casterton district farmers and result in many millions of dollars being pumped into the district’s economy. Prices are not quite as high as last year, when quality sheep were sold for more than $100 a head.
But, overall, everyone concerned was pleased with the first three days of the sales and predict good prices for the remaining two major weaner sales.