Rain saw confidence return to joined female sales, with two feature lines of pregnancy-tested-in-calf heifers and cows tipping over $2000 a head at Mortlake.
Agents yarded 1142 head of cattle, predominantly joined females, with a large draft from the dispersal of 140 cattle from Coleraine beef producer John Kane and the annual Nampara, SA, offering.
Sambell, Barwidgee and Mindarra Park also enjoyed strong sales.
"The fat job is not that strong, they are all fairly booked up with cattle, but there was a sniff of rain in the north, and the job seems to have turned a corner," Mortlake Agents Association president Alister Nash said after the sale.
"It's amazing how quickly this job turns.
"There were reports Julia Creek (Qld) had 100 millimetres of rain and two to four inches have been predicted for middle NSW.
"That's just enough to change the direction the cattle job is heading."
He said Mr Kane presented his cattle in very good condition.
"We have had a magnificent season down here and the cattle were in very, very good order," he said.
"The joined female job was probably $250-300 above expectations.
"Barwidgee's three year-olds made $2025, but we hit $2000 on two or three occasions and plenty down to $1900.
"It was very, very solid, right throughout, for the 500 joined females we had."
Most of the joined females went back to the local area, but some were snapped up by Yea producers.
Angus cows and calves made up to $1600, with Herefords fetching $1260.
"If you had said to anyone before the sale there would be joined cows that made $2000, most people would have said that you were mad," Mr Nash said.
He said even the heavier cows, offered by Mr Kane, made $150 over meat value.
He said the steer job was stronger than a month ago.
Feeder and weaner steers made to 308 cents a kilogram.
"There weren't many of those," he said.
Yearling heifers reached 262c/kg.
Bruce Redpath, Elders, Mortlake, said while bidding was slow at the start of the joined females, he was happy with the level of competition.
"There have been a couple of big loads gone into the Penshurst area, near Hamilton, and a couple of other loads to locals, just buying 10s and 15s, mainly local competition, for replacements," Mr Redpath said.
"Barwidgee always keep some cattle, they went very well, and they went to Yea."
He said the quality of the heifer weaners was back.
Nampara kicked off its draft with a $2000 sale of a pen of 14 PTIC heifers.
Barwidgee topped its sale with a pen of 10 PTIC heifers, knocked down to Webb Pastoral, for $1950.
Mr Kane achieved his top price with $2075 for 18 PTIC cows, rejoined to Dollar bulls, which went back to a neighbour.
Stephen Sambell achieved $1700 on three occasions, for 30 PTIC Angus heifers.
There was only a small offering of steers and heifers, with Teys active on the heavier male cattle, paying between 265-308c/kg.
Guy and Sharon Ferguson, Katandra, Timboon, sold their first pen of Angus steers, 477kg, for $1409, or 302c/kg.
Their second pen of steers, 477kg, also sold for 302c/kg, or $1441.
GP and SA Francis sold a pen of 10 Angus steers, 358kg, for $1056, or 295c/kg.
Landmark International bought two pens of Hereford steers, offered by Wypanda.
Wypanda's first pen of 28 steers, 323kg, sold for $983, or 304c/kg.
Glenayr sold a pen of 10 steers, 385kg for $1147, or 298c/kg.
Cobraugaragay Partnership sold a pen of 12 Hereford steers, 361kg, for $1023, or 283c/kg.
Its pen of 12 heifers, 344kg, sold for $778, or 226c/kg.
Kooraweera Partnership sold a pen of two Hereford heifers, 350kg, for $951, or 230c/kg.
MJ and MT Dillon sold a pen of 16 Angus-cross heifers, 377kg, for $753, or 252c/kg.