Unreal Season Calls for Real Opportunities

Nov 10, 2022
Chris Howie, StockCo’s National Business Development Manager talks shop about trade options to consider right now.

It’s odd that sometimes the best opportunities to trade sit with the breeding operations. In a year like this with feed, compromised cropping programs and your own stock it is easy to look inwards and miss a chance. Think of your own stock as if you are trading them, not breeding them, for a short period and do the sums on a quick 3–4 month trade using our Livestock Calculators.

Lambs / Sheep

With the season we have had the lamb numbers cannot be contained any longer and have to go. Rain and floods held lamb supply up for 9 days which saw a spike in the market taking $ per kg back over $8. However now the king tide has arrived, and the drafting gate must swing. Prices have lost all of the gains plus some with processors now trying to juggle booked hooks lambs and the ever-cheapening sale yard offering.

In the big lamb centres Wagga have 107,000 head up for sale  (10 Nov) and the numbers at Bendigo, Ballarat, Hamilton, Horsham, Dubbo, Carcoar, Yass and Naracoorte are starting to build quickly. WA are continuing to struggle with available processing space. Forbes is still impacted by floods and the north-south trucking corridor is being severely disrupted.

So, what are some options?

Lamb and Sheep

  1. Shear and hold – StockCo can put some cash in your account via a Stock Advance.
  2. Selling your best trade or heavies and buy back in some stores straight away using StockCo’s Trading facility.
    a) Eg. Sell at $150 buy back in at $85 – $120. Buy a few less and do a really good short-term job on them.
  3. Lambs are already sold? Jump into the market on a short-term trade using crop regrowth and stubble.
  4. Mutton / Ewes – buy during high lamb supply time to fatten or join. Merinos are best as they grow wool.
  5. Extra replacement young ewes that allow you to cull older girls out after the festive season.


Cattle are quickly dividing into several moving parts;

  • Heavy cows and bullocks – market is very good. Sell, sell, sell as the numbers are coming.
  • Young store cattle under 320kg are quickly rising in value for no reason other than available feed.
  • Feeder cattle between 450 – 520kg are becoming harder to sell with many blowing weights due to feed or inability to truck to feedlot.
  • Many cow and calf units are better value to split if in good condition with a sappy calf.

Cattle options

  1. Buy heavier steers with a Trading Facility that have missed the feedlot cut off. They’ll be ready to go in winter when there’s less supply in south.
  2. Sell old cows and replace with PTIC heifers for a greater change over opportunity. StockCo’s Breeder Finance is just the ticket.
  3. Use the season to join some of your excess heifers and polish them up for the female sales in January and February. If you need some extra working capital during this time, you need a Stock Advance.
  4. Take the time to work out your buy price and realistic sale price in the future to make sure you are creating a positive margin. Livestock margin calculators are a handy tool to have.

We remain very cyclic in Australia – often driven by season but also emotion. Emotion is the dangerous one as it is not based on fact, is very short sighted and tends to be guided by other influences outside of your control or industry e.g. the metropolitan media. Looking forward at what is coming is far better than basing your decision on yesterday’s market report.

Ben Crowe, Ash Barty’s mind set coach has a great mantra for those he helps that sounds something like this. “You are in complete control of your attitude, do not let the environment around you change your attitude”

If you believe in what you are doing with your livestock, have based it on fact and understand the market and drivers in advance, what reason do you have to change unless for a greater benefit?

Often it is only a missing ingredient that holds a livestock operation back – feed, water, supply or finance. StockCo can help you with the last one because the other 3 are well and truly available.

Give us a call. We love to chat.

General Advice Warning
The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice.