Northern cattle continue to drive prices in Victoria and prime cattle are in short supply.
In the north, store cattle are dominating markets as tough conditions escalate.
Dubbo, NSW, sale numbers continue to exceed over 6000.
Typical safe areas have had a rainless winter and bores are drying up, with the Brisbane Valley in Queensland in a critical state.
Producers on the Mid North Coast, after commencing with a good season, have lost excess of 10,000 hectares of pasture to a catastrophic bushfire.
Speaking with a northern buyer, there are some truly heartbreaking stories of families in real distress.
Feedstocks depleted, bores dry and little or no rain is forcing farmers to slash herd numbers or sell their prized breeding stock.
Adding to concerns, Centrelink considers the sale of any animals as income, meaning farmers forced to sell their breeders will likely lose their Farm Household Allowance, thus relying on their cattle proceeds to live.
What happens to individuals, who have exhausted their cash flows, when rain does finally come, assuming there will be cattle available?
At Dubbo, limited numbers of crop finished yearlings were available to the domestic processors, and prices remained firm, reaching 336 cents a kilogram for the steer portion.
With 10 millimetres of rain received in the supply area, farmers are now locking up their crops praying for another drop and hoping for some seed production.
This will put skids on finished supplies at Dubbo.
The sale drew less competition and the market slid back 20c/kg for quality, black feeder steers weighing 400kg selling between 285-315c/kg.
There are big herds to come and the knock on effect will further boost Victoria's prices.
Trade prices fluctuated this week.
Swan Hill reported steers hitting 370c/kg, jumping 11c/kg, while Wagga Wagga, NSW, eased 16c/kg, selling between 300-340c/kg.
Pakenham saw prices reach 361c/kg and heifers hit 358c/kg, lifting 11c/kg.
Prices ignited in the bullock run at Leongatha, jumping 9c/kg, reaching 364c/kg, similar to prices a fortnight ago.
Strong competition at Wagga held prices firm, with grown steers selling between 303-345c/kg.
Processors upped the ante in cow sales with, most markets reporting they had price gains.
Pakenham jumped up to 20c/kg, with heavy beef types selling between 270-298c/kg and light one score cows making 190-245c/kg
Shepparton's best cows eased slightly, however, the quality was good reaching 265c/kg.
The lighter cow portion jumped 8c/kg to 159-241c/kg.
Restockers and feedlot buyers continued to operate as Victoria's wet conditions prevail.