Rain late last week had a varied impact on prime and store cattle markets but that could change with more forecast.
While not a general rain, last week's falls had all beef producers, restockers, feedlotters and processors pondering the impact on supply and demand.
Producers had plenty to think about in relation to pasture growth and supplementary feeding, while buyers had to align their possible requirements with what was projected to come onto the market and at what prices.
Even in those areas that didn't receive big totals, buyers signaled with confidence that the season had turned.
There was no doubt that feedlotters remained the key buyers in most markets on suitable cattle, but once off those entry-weighted stock, the market continued to be sticky.
A large dispersal of female cattle at Hamilton last Thursday saw local buying orders account for around 300 of the total yarding of 1238.
LMB Livestock agent Hugh Douglas, Hamilton, put together a big line of cows and heifers for various clients who had been waiting for the sale.
"Normally we get a break by May, so we had been putting the sale off for as long as possible," Mr Douglas said.
However Hamilton and local districts was one of the areas in the state that didn't get significant rains.
Mr Douglas said local clients had known for a long time that the cattle would hit the market and were able to buy to their budget.
He said the rain in many other parts gave buyers confidence to source cattle.
Tyson Bush, Rodwells Yea, said numbers at this Friday's sale would be around 3000.
That follows Rodwells' weaner sale last week that offered a similar number.
Mr Bush said the rain certainly hadn't stopped cattle coming in.
"We're hoping for a core group of locals to put a floor in the market with the northern interests and feedlotters to operate on suitable weights," he said.
Rains of up to 60mm in areas from Orbost to the Monaro had little impact on cattle coming forward for sale, according to Elders Bairnsdale agent Morgan Davies.
Mr Davies said this Friday's upcoming sale was expected to total around 1500 and would include drafts that had been held back from usual March selling hoping for better prices.
In prime markets, at Pakenham on Monday there were 270 head fewer yarded.
- Condah Hills topped the sale
- Rain inspired widespread competition at Rodwells'
- Some of the highest falls recorded
According to Meat & Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS), trade cattle lifted about 5 cents a kilogram, grown steers and bullocks showing good finish lifted 5c/kg and heavy grown heifers improved 15c/kg.
At Wagga Wagga, NSW, on Monday, numbers at the prime sale jumped despite good rains.
NLRS said the major feedlots dominated the market where the yarding of heavy steers and bullocks fell due to the seasonal shortage.
Restockers were in attendance but were selective, preferring to pay a premium for a particular breed.
The bulk of the medium steers gained 2c/kg to average 308c/kg.
There was weaker demand for heifers suitable to feed on, with the lighter weights 11c/kg cheaper, making from 230c/kg-291c/kg.
Medium weight feed heifers sold 14c/kg cheaper at 242c/kg-291c/kg.
Grown steers and bullocks sold from 262c/kg-306c/kg.
At Shepparton Tuesday there was an increased yarding of 1800 cattle, up 300.
NLRS reported quality varied widely with a greater proportion of plain quality dairy cattle yarded.
A couple of exporters were absent and grown steers and bullocks sold firm to a few cents cheaper. Better heavy beef cows were firm to 6c/kg dearer while heavy Friesian cows, dried off, were several cents dearer.