A larger gallery of buyers and more "spirited bidding" pushed prices beyond expectations at Ballarat on Friday for the June female store cattle sale.
Agents yarded 2100 heifers at the Central Victoria Livestock Exchange, one week after the steer portion were sold to wide inquiry.
Additional feedlot and processor competition underpinned the market, agents said, as restockers from northern NSW and central Victoria had to battle for cattle.
Vendors were restricted from the laneways during the sale to give the buying gallery more room due to COVID-19, but were permitted to watch their cattle sold from behind the pens.
The sale started with a line of heavy Angus heifers which weighed between 455 and 535 kilograms, ranging from 364 to 402 cents a kilogram.
TB White & Sons director Leo White said seasonal conditions and trusted bloodlines attracted strong demand for well-bred Angus and Euro calves.
He said the sale attracted more "spirited bidding" compared the steer market a week ago.
"All the heavier cattle went to feedlots which is a pity because they'll be out of the system but there was the odd pen that was bought to breed-on," Mr White said.
"Heavy heifers made between 380-390c/kg and went up to 410-420c/kg while the neat, killable Euro-type calves were making 440-450c/kg.
"Light cattle from 220-250c/kg were nudging 500c/kg and started from 470-480c/kg."
JW Hay sold the dearest heifer pen of the sale with 28 Franc blood Angus, weighing an average of 511kg, making $2020 or 395c/kg.
Deebys Way sold five heifers, 535kg for $1970 or 368c/kg while the first pen of the sale, six heifers by Brackenhurst Pty Ltd, 511kg, made $1940 or 379c/kg.
Elders Ballarat auctioneer Graeme Nicholson described the yarding as the best-presented group of heifers he had seen at this time of year in 30 years.
"Cattle start to slip in condition and they do it hard through to the end of August," Mr Nicholson said.
"Seasonal conditions have been terrific right through to now and the cattle show it."
He said Euro cattle were "a whisker behind" the Angus cattle sold.
Quentin and Marilyn Hewitt, Springbank, received the gong for the dearest pen of the sale, selling a pen of 13 cows with 14 three-month-old calves at foot for $2940.
Mr Hewitt said he decided to take advantage of the strong store prices, which ultimately paid off.
Charles Stewart & Co Ballarat auctioneer Jamie McConachy said feedlot-suited cattle with cover and a good finish received a premium.
"Feedlots are the strength in the industry along with northern New South Wales buyers who are having a good time for a change," Mr McConachy said.
"It's too strong for guys to either start their own herd or top up a herd - you can do that later on when it cools down - but at the moment the strength is with the feedlotters along with about four processors that go unnoticed in most sales."
HF Richardson livestock manager Bernie Nevins said the heifers made more on average on a cents per kilogram basis compared to their brothers a week earlier.
"Heavier cattle were making 395-410c/kg and the lighter heifers around 200 kilos were making 450-480c/kg," Mr Nevins said.
"There was a bigger field of buyers than last week with more trade buyers."
W Fawcett sold 17 heifers, 454kg, for $1820 or 402c/kg.
DR Barrie sold 11 heifers, 499kg, for $1930 or 386c/kg.
Nebpak Enterprises sold 32 heifers, 484kg, for $1880 or 388c/kg.
M and J Blyth sold 11 heifers, 461kg, for $1760 or 381c/kg.
Cossar Farms sold eight heifers, 476kg, for $1835 or 385c/kg.
CM Thege sold 17 heifers, 374kg, for $1510 or 403c/kg.
The Valley sold 19 heifers, 381kg, for $1590 or 417c/kg.
Corangamite Park sold 16 Red Angus heifers, 461kg, for $1760 or 381c/kg and a pen of lighter heifers, 267kg, for $1120 or 419c/kg.
Kilworth Pty Ltd sold 20 heifers, 516kg, for $1880 or 364c/kg.
D Howard sold seven heifers, 410kg, for $1690 or 412c/kg.
Maher Family Trust sold eight heifers, 390kg, for $1730 or 443c/kg.
H Wade & Sons sold 25 heifers, 372kg, for $1500 or 403c/kg.
P and D Lloyd sold four heifers, 358kg, for $1540 or 438c/kg.
Watson Park sold 22 heifers, 283kg for $1185 or 418c/kg.
C and V Goy sold 10 Charolais Angus-cross heifers, 281kg, for $1160 or 412c/kg.
S and Z jones sold 10 heifers, 293kg, for $1190 or 406c/kg.
S and M Muscat sold six cows with calves at foot for $2680.
Hillview Pastoral sold seven cows with calves at footy for $2080.