Friday's dairy cattle sale at Warragul sale was the first since the new season's minimum milk prices were announced and prices held up at the top end but there were plenty of bargains.
Just under 200 cows and three bulls were auctioned by Elders and Alex Scott & Staff before approximately 80 spectators through the Warragul ring.
Among the offerings were three partial herd dispersals, O'Hara Realty, Helen Cremin and Bass River Dairies, who sold fresh autumn and springing cows and will have spring calvers later in the year.
It also seemed as if Friday's sale, too, was split in half.
Very freshly-calved three, four and five-year-old large-framed Friesians with good udders generally made $2000 to $2500 a head.
Elders Pakenham auctioneer Michael Robertson said the category was the most sought-after on the day.
"We had some younger cows today that sold very strongly between $2500-$3000 for the baby two-year olds and second-calving cows," he said.
"I think it was the second and third-calving cows which were the strength of today's sale.
"They're right in their prime and they're giving plenty of milk and we had plenty of good cows in that area."
Two cows from Oakdale Dairies, Longwarry, made $2700 a head.
Oakdale sold 46 cows that auctioneers emphasised were guaranteed for performance.
A pen of three, fresh, second-calvers sired by Dsol, Yonick and Planet made $2600 a head.
Welshpool dairy farmer Kelvin Jackson sold a line of 16 autumn-calving dairy cows, which averaged just under $2000.
"I suppose on average, the prices were okay but a lot of cows at the sale were cheap given chopper prices," Mr Jackson said after the sale.
"I sold a cow with mastitis as a chopper the other day for $1700.
"Cows with good udders made reasonable prices but there was a fair gap between classes of cows.
"Dairy cows in comparison to chopper cows are pretty good value."
Across the sale, most smaller or cross-bred cows sold for between $900-$1500 and well grown-out two-year-old fresh heifers made $1500-$2000.
Two buyers in particular provided good competition for the better classes of cows.
One was Corryong purchaser Melderg Pty Ltd, which scooped up 31 dairy cows.
The other was Anthony Boulton, who has two dairy farms in Sale and another at Krowera near Kongwak, and is a regular at the Warragul saleyards.
"I thought the market was back a little bit on previous markets but that's probably due to winter on our doorstep and a little bit wet in the season, that's had an effect on the market," he said.
Although the milk prices announced on Monday were lower than last year's, Mr Boulton said he didn't think they contributed to the fall.
"I think the milk price is okay the way it is, at least it's got a six in front of it and I think it's more to do with seasonal conditions and it's a long way to go before we hit spring," he said.
"Interest rates are low, fodder prices are quite reasonable, so as far as I'm concerned, the dairy job's quite viable."
The sale had presented some good opportunities for buyers, Mr Boulton said.
"I myself bought 20-odd cows, there's opportunity there and everyone's got their own choice of animal to buy and I think everybody walked away quite happy with their purchases," he said.
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