Cattle with weight and condition suiting the needs of hungry feedlot buyers and specialist South Gippsland grass finishers were king at Ballarat monthly store cattle sale on Friday.
Heavy grown steers, in particular, were an extremely popular item making to a market top of $1770 a head as most sales weighed above 500 kilogram drew bids exceeding 300 cents a kilogram liveweight.
Setting the pace and assuming the heaviest pens was Elders Korumburra enigma, Don Bowman while commission buyer, Campbell Ross, buying northern NSW order, was hot on his tail.
The pair bid beyond $1500 a head on more than 15 occasions while fellow South Gippsland agent Eddie Hams, Landmark Leongatha nipped at their kneels.
Among the highest sales Norm Suckling, Ascot sold 15 Angus, 591kg at $1770 while vendors Millard & Powell sold a yard of 20 Angus, 540, at $1750.
But once under these specifications competition become more selective, with values drifting as weights, condition and breed moved away from the optimum.
C, P & R Mathews enjoyed on of the better sales at the the genuine feeder weights, selling 16 Angus steers, 463kg at $1370 while Ballanee sold 24 Angus, 437kg at $1380.
Feedlot buyers, Teys, J&F (JBS) and Ravenwood were all significant buyers of the feeder weight lots along with Scott Creek Livestock, Mt Gambier.
Vendor, Yanika was a volume seller of Hereford steers selling a pen of 18, 440kg at $1310 and a second yard of 23, 403kg at $1200.
The centre-piece of the 4378-head November sale was the early drafts of autumn-drop weaners. Sold annually in this market the Cherrymount, Streatham, Angus steers, Franc-blood made to $1200 a head (top pen of 43 weighed 393kg) while a second draft of 56, 353kg, made $1050.
Vendor, Bungeel Tap, Macedon, was also well rewarded with $1200 a head for its yard of 17 Landfall-blood Angus steers, 407kg, while Parkland Investments, Mt Wallace, sold 34 Murdeduke-blood Angus, 378kg, at $1190.
Most other sales of 13-14 month-old yearling-off and autumn-drop weaner Angus steers, weighed at 350kg and heavier, drew bids comprising four-figure sums that equated to per kilogram rates of 270 to 300-cents.
However, as colour changed and the weights decreased a larger portion of these sales eased back into a 240- 270c/kg price bracket as speculative backgrounder interest diminished on account of the variability in the season.
A Laguna Bay, Skipton yard of 44 Angus steers, 305kg, was an exception selling for $980 to a Ballarat restocker.
This meant a proportion of the weaner steer yarding accrued sales in the $700 to $950 price bracket and saved only by the quality of the penning which was of mostly of excellent condition bearing in mind the difficulties posed by the season.
The heifer market followed the beat of a similar drum whereas pens offering weights suitable for the feeders and butchers were keenly sought while those lighter or not offering adequate condition were considered much more buyable.
Well breed Black heifers sought for joining and heifers suitable to feed or slaughter generally made 240-260c/kg while those missing this mark, which also included some the above, saw sales decline into 210 to 240c/kg, again, many of these saved in dollar per head terms by the weight they carried.