Best way to buy cattle

5 posts

Member for

9 years 4 months
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 01/28/2015 - 21:02

Best way to buy cattle

Hi all,

I am new to farming and have a 100 acre property in the goulburn region of nsw. The farm has established  infrastructure such as fencing, crush and dams so we were looking to buy some cattle for the property. In this regard i am clueless as to how to buy cattle effectivley in terms of conditioning, gerneral health, price and composition of the herd. I have a Pic and am aware of the regulations i just need help to determine the best course.

Thanks so much, any info is much appreciated.


Last seen: 12/26/2018 - 09:21
Joined: 05/31/2011 - 09:44

Hi Glenn,

There are a number of ways that you can buy cattle, these include:

  • Saleyards
  • On-line (Auctions PLus)
  • Direct from a farmer / cattle breeder
  • In most of these cases a livestock agent will be involved in the transaction who can assist with information such as the price to pay plus the assessment of livestock condition and age. They are also act as the middle man for payment and will organise the transfer of the cattle on the NLIS database.

I would start with a small number of light weight (180kg), european (angus, poll hereford, murray grey) bred cattle until you build up your confidence and husbandry skills.



Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Glen,

I'll have a crack at answering some of your questions.Although I'm not an expert on cattle I do run a small herd on my 400 acre property.

I usually buy my cattle at the weaner sales that in my area of Qld are usually held around June each Year.

the first thing to decide is, do you just want to raise steers for the meat market, to make some money, or do you want to run cows with a view to breeding. Steers are the easy way. Keep them for 12 months and then sell them and buy in the next lot.

Breeding cows can be a little more difficult when you are inexperienced. They need a lot more more pasture when lactating and during pregnancy. They can be expensive if they suffer a breach and so on, when calving and the vet needs to be called. Yes, you can learn to deal with this yourself, but it is hard work. One good thing is that birthing problems are not all that common, but do happen.

My advice is, when you are starting out and until you have more experience handling cattle, would be to do what my husband and I did when we started out, having worked in an office most of our lives. We went to the weaner sales in June of that year and before we did so, got to know our neighbours and went and had a talk to them. People who have been on the land in your area will know the local conditions and when it is likely to be dry and so on. Then, we went and had a talk to the livestock agent to find out when the local sales for weaner cattle both steers and heifers, would be held. In many places these are held seperately.

This done, we went off to the sales and followed blokes around the sale yards and listened to them while they talked about the condition of cattle in various pens in the sale yards. You can learn a lot from just listening to what they are saying. We saw a pen of beautiful young Brahman heifers and asked a couple of blokes about them and they said they were from one of the top studs in the area, but were not show quality, which is why they were at the heifer sales. So we bought them and never regretted it, but it was steep learning curve. We had them Artificially inseminated by a local dairy farmer, we had gotten to know. He ordered top Brahman semen for us and then A.I'd them for us. The result was some beautiful calves on the ground, which was the beginning of our herd. Looking back, it would have been much easier and simpler, to just buy in weaners steers and then sell them on when they were grown out. However, all of this was experience and learning and I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

So these are some of our experiences and now I'll leave the technical stuff up to Charlie and Robb.

Cheers and good luck with your new enterprise



A word of advice, unless you are prepared to bottle or bucket feed 4 times a day, and deal with calf scours and so on, don't be tempted to buy day old dairy beef calves. They are cheap, sometimes $20.00 each, but they are a lot of work and calf pab (powdered milk type calf formula) is not cheap.

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

Barb has nailed the answer. I would not even look at heifers till you get a few years under your belt. Apart from her advice I would look at a few pages on cell grazing to make the most of your pastures and to increase the diversity in your pastures. Stock are like us, they do better on a wide variety of foods, they can live on a monoculture which is easier for us but a polyculture will always have something actively growing and eventually becomes self sustaining. Also, only stock your place for your worst season so you don't overgraze or have to buy food.



Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Glen and Rob,

Yes I agree with Rob's advice on pasture. My area is subtropical with a poor granite type sandy soil. On advice from one of the seed merchants (Heritage Seeds), we planted a mixture of Rhodes Callide grass with Secca Stylo, Verahna Stylo and Wincassia. The stylos, which are a type of legume, like lucerne, add nitrogen to the soil through nodulation on their roots, which saves a lot of money on Urea fertiliser and they are also high in protein. However, I would never plant Wincassia again for several reasons.

1.Wincassia is very bitter before it flowers and so stock avoid it.

2.Unless it is fertilised, it has little feed value,

3.It takes over pastures in conditions favourable to it's growth.

4. after it has smothered the rest of your pasture out it becomes dominant.

5. This might sound o.k. but the only time it is palatable to stock is when it flowers. After which, it drops its leaves.

6. so there you are, in winter, with no grass because it has crowded out the other pasture and no feed because it has dropped it's leaves.

when I was writing my book for CSIRO, unofficially, they told me, that it is one of the few plants they have regretted introducing into Australia.



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