Weighed spring-drop heifers sold to 470 cents a kilogram at Leongatha on Friday as feedlot operators continued their pursuit to purchase suitable lines of cattle.
In places, well-presented, vendor-bred heifers sold above the price of steers on a cents per kilogram basis.
Agents yarded 3500 cattle during the fortnightly store sale including 2400 steers with only a limited selection of black steers under 300 kilograms on offer.
Professional buyers and agents from NSW underpinned the market with the return of some recent volume buyers and new faces.
Purtle Plevey director Sam Plevey, Gunnedah, NSW, attended his first Leongatha sale for the year, representing clients near Tamworth, NSW, who were looking for lighter-weight steers and heifers.
Wagga Wagga-based commission buyer Duncan Brown returned and was active buying cattle for restocking while an agent from Elders Bathurst, who wished to remain anonymous, was a regular bidder during the market.
Feedlot buyer Ben O'Kane, Wagga Wagga, was active buying cattle for Charlton Feedlot in north-central Victoria as was Mark Dwyer, G&K O'Connor, who selected cattle for feedlots in NSW.
Regular volume buyers Anthony Hullick, who represented a handful of clients including Westside Meat, Campbell Brown, Matt Castricum and Ron Rutledge, Elders Melbourne/Deniliquin - who was buying feedlot-weight cattle - were active.
Heifers sell "well over 500c/kg"
A line of 95 spring-drop, nine-to-10-month-old, Angus heifers bred by Rodney and Coral Donat, Mirboo, topped the female section of the sale, selling between 398-470c/kg.
Their dearest pen of 16 heifers, 374kg, made $1490 or 398c/kg.
Mr Donat said it was their best result to date.
"Right from birth they've been handled, they're in small paddocks ... and they're constantly being moved and handled so they're fully trained and very quiet," Mr Donat said.
Selling agent Nutrien Leongatha auctioneer Brian McCormack said lighter, unweighed heifers bred by the Donats sold "well over 500c/kg" during the "red hot" sale.
"They are impeccably bred for breeding and there was a couple of blokes who came down to try and buy heifers to take north into NSW," Mr McCormack said.
Merlewood Angus, Mirboo North, sold 18 heifers, 270kg, for $1250 or 462c/kg while Geros and Leshi, Yarram, sold 16 Angus steers, 268kg, for $1270 or 473c/kg.
BJ O'Loughlin, Mirboo, sold 25 steers, 256kg, for $1230 or 480c/kg.
Light black steers maintained popularity among buyers, selling to a height of 515c/kg for a pen of 20 Angus weaners by R and K Price, Mt Eccles, 291kg, which made $1500.
Phelan & Henderson & Co partner Simon Henderson said the market was dearer than a fortnight ago.
"Feedlot competition in Victoria and the Riverina pushed prices right up for cattle to go on crop or grain and I would suggest they will be fattened and sold before the end of spring," Mr Henderson said.
"There was some local activity from our regular, larger buyers ... but most of the heavy cattle headed north but generally speaking most of the well-bred cattle are heading north."
Among the dearest pens of steers sold, Chrypin Pty Ltd, Trafalgar, sold 14 steers, 592kg, for $2260 or 381 while K Vandy, Seaton, sold a pen of 16 steers, 578kg, for $2240 or 387c/klg.
L Missen, Kilmany, sold five steers, 500kg, for $2080 or 416c/kg, while R and J Wischer, Walkerville, sold 10 steers, 556kg, for $2160 or 388c/kg.
SEJ Leongatha manager James Kyle said cattle made up to 20 cents a kilogram more than initially anticipated.
"We had a lot of cattle with weight and the big numbers brought out a big crowd, particularly considering there was no other sale on in Victoria today," Mr Kyle said.
"We had a lot of feedlotters active on our cattle, Elders Deniliquin for Australian Foods put a floor in it, and when you threw another six or seven blokes in with feedlot orders - before us locals who were buying cattle - it made for a very buoyant market."
Alex Scott & Staff livestock auctioneer Dane Perczyk said he expected the demand for feeder cattle to continue.
"Heading into winter, the numbers traditionally should drop off and if those numbers drop off, the demand will stay strong which will then keep the price up," Mr Perczyk said.
D and P Whiteley, Mirboo, sold 20 steers, 412kg, for $1760 or 427c/kg.
J and P Fleming, Rosedale, sold 20 steers, 415kg, for $1170 or 426c/kg.
Homebush Pastoral, Meeniyan, sold 11 steers, 578kg, for $2130 or 368c/kg.
T and M Neesham, French Island, sold 20 steers, 389kg, for $1680 or 431c/kg.
R and S Irvin, Mirboo, sold 20 steers, 400kg, for $1680 or $420c/kg.
DM and JA Nash, Strzelecki, sold 20 steers, 499kg, for $2240 or 449c/kg.
In the heifers, MA and MH Scanlon, Wondong, sold 23 heifers, 343kg, for $1390 or 405c/kg.
Paulett Investments, Morwell, sold 16 heifers, 290kg, for $1250 or 431c/kg.
E Gloster, Tarwin, sold 14 heifers, 385kg, for $1510 or 392.