South Gippsland restockers boosted demand for well-bred lines of cattle at Leongatha on Monday during SEJ Livestock's feature store sale where heavy steers topped the market at $1880.
Light steers fetched the highest price for cents a kilogram at 382c/kg as agents yarded about 1650 cattle for the seventh annual sale.
SEJ Livestock auctioneer James Kyle said there were 1000 less cattle yarded compared to the 2019 market due to a good spring and consistent rain.
"We had a lot more heavier cattle in that 500-600-kilo range last year," Mr Kyle said.
"Steers didn't make what we anticipated last year but because we've had such a good season here we've left a lot of cattle in the paddock and they will be fat by Easter.
"So if the fat job comes good around March/April which we expect it will, we'll be better off holding them until then."
The heaviest pen of steers by Bridgewater Park, Wattle Bank, topped the market for price per head with a pen of 15 steers, 595kg, for $1880 or 316c/kg.
The only other 500-kilogram plus cattle sold were owned by Sandra and Ken Hendrik, Inverloch, who sold 103 Angus and Black Baldy steers after selling the farm with plans to retire.
Their best pen, 540kg, made $1800 or 333c/kg.
On average heavy steers made between 315-330c/kg while yearling cattle 400-450kg made 330-350c/kge.
"People came back to buy the repeat calves and that's what we noticed at this annual sale," Mr Kyle said.
"You look at the vendor-bred steers by Jasmel from Tarwin Lower and they sold exceptionally well and as did the Malabar Farms cattle because people come back year in year out to buy these well-bred lines of steers."
Jasmel, Tarwin Lower, sold a pen of 20 steers, 478kg, for $1550 or 324c/kg.
Malabar Farms sold several pens of cattle including a pen of 22 steers, 423kg, for $1140 or 340c/kg.
A strong presence of local restockers helped increase demand across most lines of cattle as feedlot activity was less noticeable compared to recent store sales in Gippsland.
"We had an agent here from Ballarat that bid on a fair few pens of cattle but I don't recall him buying anything so to me that indicated we've had a fairly good sale," Mr Kyle said.
"We also had support from East Gippsland so a fair few pens of cattle, mainly smaller steers and heifers, will head east."
South Gippsland is 'faring well'
Mr Kyle said predicted rainfall across parts of the region in the coming week would help keep South Gippsland green through the rest of summer.
"If we do get a couple of inches of rain that will just well and truly keep us green the whole way through I'd imagine," he said.
"We have an abundance of feed especially in our lower country around the coast so it's really going to set us up.
"South Gippsland is God's country and we live in a very special spot - there's no doubt about that."
C and G White, Foster, sold a pen of 15 steers, 486kg, for $1550 or 318c/kg.
JDK Pastoral sold a pen of 16 steers, 460kg, for $1440 or 313c/kg.
Doonagatha, Sandy Point, sold 20 steers, 355kg, for $1300 or 366c/kg.
Stanara, Bengworden, sold 13 steers, 448kg, for $1430 or 319c/kg.
J and C Brenan, Cape Liptrap, sold 15 steers, 345kg, for $1120 or 324c/kg.
G and C Hocking, Woodside, sold 21 steers, 323kg, for $1190 or 368c/kg.
B and K Foat, Woodside, sold nine steers,343kg, for $1150 or 335c/kg.
F and C Cameron, Wild Dog, Phillip Island, sold 18 heifers, 304kg, for $950 or 312c/kg.