As Henry Ford said about his Model T "you can have any colour you like so long as it's black." So it was at the annual Dannevirke Cattle Fair on February 11 – a sea of black greeted vendors and buyers showing the huge preference buyers have for Aberdeen Angus beef.
Nearly 1000 steers sold at Dannevirke on Thursday half of them 2½-year-olds pronounced "on a par with the best in the country" by a number of experienced livestock agents including Roger Watts, agent for Carrfields Livestock.
He was highly delighted by the prices for these steers which peaked at $1800/head from SC Herbert of Oringi and averaged $1600/head with the lower end in weight ranging down to $1400/head.
This price was reached for the heaviest prime 18-month steers Everton Land Co of Carterton reaching $1440/head under Carrfields auctioneer Chris McBride's direction.
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Most 18-month steers ranged between $1140 and $1370/head.
Dannevirke's sale was a huge break from tradition with the auctioneers operating from above the pens rather than moving them into the auction facility pen by pen. PGG Wrightson livestock manager Bjorn Andersen said this way was a lot easier on the animals, the stockmen and the facility.
He said it was an experiment to see if it would work and with perfect weather and the sale of nearly 1000 stock in an hour it was judged a real success. For buyers and sellers in the access paths, secure with the steers in padlocked pens, the sale was different but the opportunity to see the stock at eye level was appreciated.
Andersen said he thought the experiment would be tried again next year.