Cattle prices rose to "unexpected levels" at Wodonga on Thursday as recent rainfall in the north along with a prominent gallery of buyers helped push prices above $4 a kilogram.
Lighter weaner steers were the pick of the day, making up to $4.36 a kilogram, as buyers sourced well-bred lines of cattle, while cows and calves sold to $2560 and joined heifers sold to strong demand.
Agents drew for 2500 cattle as vendors from fire-affected areas in NSW and eastern Victoria offloaded cattle due to the ongoing fire threat and a lack of feed and water supplies.
Landmark Paull & Scollard auctioneer Matthew Pitzen said he was "over the moon" with the result.
"It was very solid and the way we've seen the prime and store markets increase in the last week, and with a fair bit of rain in the north, we're all hoping this is going to be the new norm," Mr Pitzen said.
"All those last year spring-drop calves made in most places in excess of $4 a kilo for steers, heifers were very sold and were $3 plus and the heavy end of the cattle we had three of four feedlots going on those."
Feedlotters competed for the heavier ends of cattle filling orders bound for Coonamble and Tamworth, as about half-a-dozen agents and buyers from South Gippsland purchased well-bred lighter cattle.
"One of our features was the Mitchell calves; they had the lead of their steers there and the didn't retain any of their heifers and they sold tremendously because buyers jumped onto them," Mr Pitzen said.
Mitchell Pastoral Co, Bethanga, sold a line of 60 steers, 369kg, for $1345 or 365 cents a kilogram while its top pen of heifers, 309kg, sold for $1230 or 398c/kg.
"We had 200-300 cattle from fire areas and they sold exceptionally well including some of the Rogers' calves which sold in excess of $4 a kilo from Tumbarumba and they were only spring-drop calves weighing 240-250 kilos which averaged over $1000," he said.
Elders Albury livestock manager Matt Tinkler anticipated a buoyant sale, but was surprised to see cattle fetch well above $4 a kilogram.
"With what's gone on in the last fortnight with rain in the north and the market shifting, we anticipated it to be strong but it certainly exceeded our expectations on top of that," he said
"We expected cattle to get into the $3.70 mark but some of them were starting at that and then one pen of steers made out to $4.30 which was very surprising."
Heavy steers 500kg and above made $3.10-3.20 a kilogram on average while lighter steers 280-370kg made from $3.60-$4.
"Our feature line were the Tarabah weaners which came in today with 380-odd calves and then main run of those steers sold exceptionally well from $3.70 out to $4.36 at the top end which was fantastic," Mr Tinkler said.
"They're consistent sellers at this time of the year and they have a good reputation and a good name and we see repeat buyers on those cattle each year."
GL Lewis, Talgarno, sold 17 steers, 426kg, for $1505 or 353c/kg.
Dalander, Porepunkah, sold six Hereford steers, 471kg, for $1460 or 309c/kg.
R and D Smith Pastoral Co, Tallangatta Valley, sold six Angus steers, 483kg, for $1650 or 341c/kg.
P and N Rogers Investments, Yarranalla, Holbrook, sold 30 steers, 241kg, for $1010 or 419c/kg.
M Murphy, Swifts Creek, sold Hereford steers, 459kg, for $1520 or 331c/kg.
JC and LH Kent, Yambla, Table Top, NSW, sold 18 heifers, 416kg, for $1325 or 318c/kg.
JK and JJ Star, Cudgewa, sold 13 heifers, 444kg, for $1395 or 314c/kg.