Buyers jostled to buy the ever-diminishing field of cattle at VLE Leongatha this week.
The yarding of around 1290 head was once again of variable quality.
Phelan & Henderson & Co agent Simon Henderson pointed to the impact of the dry autumn, followed by a cold winter.
"The cattle are healthy and strong but they're certainly not fat," Mr Henderson said.
On the other hand, Mr Henderson said, some older cattle from the coastal Anderson area looking "quite good and quite forward in condition" were sold to fatteners.
Mr Henderson said there was quite a spread of buyers at the sale.
"Some professional bullock fatteners, having got very good prices for bullocks over the last six or eight weeks looking to replace cattle.
"There were also some domestic feedlot operators and export feedlot operators looking to buy heavy, well bred cattle to finish on grain over the next short term for the markets they're supplying."
Remarkable, Mr Henderson said, was the number of number of cattle destined for east Gippsland.
"It's good to see some people coming down here from east Gippsland, having been ravaged by drought and still doing it very hard, not having had much rain."
Mr Henderson said the arrival of restockers from the east was a sign of confidence.
"Hopefully they can get a break and we see more of their buyers coming back down to try and get their herds going again because we know that they've sold a significant number of their cattle whether they be yearlings or breeders and ran out of water," he said.
"We're hoping for a quick turnaround for the east Gippsland folks."
Landmark agent Brian McCormack described the sale as a "pretty strong market".
"A couple of feedlots were there and a representative from a third was inactive due to the lack of suitable pens," Mr McCormack said.
"A lot of the bigger steers were too old for them."
With quality cattle so rare, better lines were in hot demand.
"Better conditioned cattle, especially weaner calves, sold well," he said.
Among them were 14-month-old black baldy steers from Lowanna Properties of Bombala, NSW.
The lead pen weighing an average of 354kg made $1250 a head or 353 cents a kilogram while the second pen weighing 316kg reached $1120 or 354c/kg.
A dozen Angus 10 to 12-month-old steers from T & P Handcock of Lance Creek weighing 323kg sold for $1240 or 384c/kg and a second 282kg pen made $1010 to 358c/kg.
The buyers from Cann River in east Gippsland who had impressed Simon Henderson with their courage bought two pens of Angus heifers in a run of two-year-olds from David and Penny Conn of Hedley.
The run of 59 Rosedale & Antu (Tas) blood heifers were reared on Flinders Island 2 years old and PTIC to begin calving in a fortnight.
They averaged $1496, which Mr Henderson described as a "fantastic result".
The first pen of "chunky" heifers weighing 488kg fetched $1640 or 336c/kg.
The second pen of taller heifers also made $1640 but their 502kg weight brought the value down to 326c/kg.
"There is good depth in the buying fraternity and finding cattle to buy that suit purchasers' requirements, particularly breeders, is going to be very challenging and could be for the next two years," Mr Henderson said.
Wallanbeen's five 12 to 14-month-old, 371kg heifers made $1040 or 280c/kg.
B Hinson of Hazelwood North sold 15 heifers aged 10 to 12 months and weighing 280kg made $860 or 307c/kg.
Six 305kg Charolais heifers sold for $940 or 308c/kg.
Mr McCormack said buyers could look forward to a good run of Angus calves from Sale at the next Leongatha store market.