FOR more than half a century Ian Salmon has been a livestock buyer so he figured it was somewhat fitting to spend his birthday at a cattle sale.
The seasoned stockman turned 76 on Friday and spent the day catching up with clients and fellow buyers at the Stanthorpe Show sale.
He's been holding firm and bidding hard at saleyards since he started out as a stock and station agent in New Zealand at 18.
I enjoy doing this, I can't see myself changing jobs at this stage and I am not ready to slow down: I have things to do.
These days the Granite Belt-based buyer admits he might have cut back "a bit", but still buys between 5000 and 6000 head of cattle annually.
"I used to buy 15,000 to 20,000 head, so I suppose you could say I have cut back a bit, but I like to stay involved," Mr Salmon explained.
Generally speaking, his clients these days are feedlot operators and commercial producers with specific requirements.
Before he spoke with the Bush Tele, he'd spent the morning buying cattle through Auctions Plus and said the market had improved on the back of good rain in northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland.
"Medium to heavier weight cattle have lifted 10c after the rain," he explained.
"Before this week, with the dry weather, there had been some very cheap cattle around.
"There were no sales in Warwick last week and were back in other places like Roma, which may have had some bearing on the improved prices."
But Mr Salmon was cautious about predicting more price rises in the coming months. He said while much of the west in Queensland and New South Wales remained dry, it was difficult to see significant gains in the market.
"Feedlot operators also continued to be affected by the high Australian dollar which, coupled with rising grain prices, is making it particularly challenging to make a profit," Mr Salmon said.
"If grain prices and the Australian dollar don't come back a bit then feedlots will, in my opinion, have to be really struggling.
"It's your input costs that really get you."
He is more optimistic about animals destined for local trade, believing that sector of the market may prove more stable.
At a grassroots level what he is definite about is the continued improvements in cattle quality.
"Producers are turning off better cattle and I believe it's a result of continued improvements in management and more information about issues like breeding and nutrition.
"I came to Australia in 1978 - and I've been back and forwards enough times to have to start telling people I am from the middle of the Tasman - but in that time there have been some major changes in the beef industry here.
"The biggest change in the past 20 years has been the enormous switch to Angus cattle, driven I believe by things like supermarket preferences.
"In the early 1980s around here all you would see were Herefords and you would hardly find any Angus at all.
"So that's been a very significant shift."
Nutritionally he said dry seasons, like the one the Southern Downs experienced during the past six months, came with signification production challenges.
"But just looking at the cattle at the show sale I am impressed with the quality and the finish, considering many producers had not had rain it's commendable."
He laughed off suggestions his own appearance at the show sale on his 76th birthday was also impressive.
"I enjoy doing this, I can't see myself changing jobs at this stage and I am not ready to slow down: I have things to do."
Located only 5 minutes drive to Toowoomba is this red hot renovated 3 bedroom home. With renovated kitchen and bathroom, recently repainted and near new floor...
This family home has to be seen to believed. From entry the warm and inviting sun room that adjoins the first of four bedrooms simply flows into the main living...
With both the character and charm that is the hallmark of one of Newtown's most desired streets, the sense of old world charm comes through with sparkling timber...
Call us quick we found it, that 4 bed 2 bath brick home on a nice quiet street! You had better believe this home is offered with massive value and is on the...
Yes, unbelievable but true 2000m2 of rare vacant residential land in a very popular street surrounded by lovely family homes. Build your dream home and enjoy...
Impressively located just a few minutes' walk from Shopping, Schools and Sporting facilities in sought-after Highfields, this entry level buying family home offers...
Perfectly positioned at the front of 6 acre block this stunning GJ Gardener home takes advantage of the uninterrupted western views and beautiful sunsets. Upon...
Situated on 4050m2 or just over 1 acre, this property offers you a range of purposes. Lifestyle and space for the family or the truck and plant operator. It...
Set on a large block of 1464m2 approximately ( 2 lots ) is this 3 bedroom ( study / 4th bedroom ) 1 bathroom, 2 toilets situated in a quite elevated street in...
A comprehensive renovation has been completed leaving you with a package that you won't want to miss! Gorgeous 2Pac cabinetry complements the thick granite benches...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.