Light steers were the feature of Bairnsdale's fortnightly store sale on Friday as favourable cattle prices continue to tempt breeders to forward spring calves earlier than usual.
Renewed local restocker competition was a sign of confidence as light cattle maintained firm prices while heavier steers eased in places, attributed to the wet and boggy conditions across Gippsland.
Geoffrey and Patricia Brown, Kent Park, Mount Taylor, sold a feature run of 75 eight-month-old Hereford steers.
The entire line was purchased by Elders Korumburra agent Alex Dixon on behalf of a South Gippsland client.
The Browns' top pen of 23 steers, 341kg, made $1520 or 445cc/kg. Their second pen of 23, 319kg, made $1425 or 446c/kg while their third pen of 14 steers, 299kg, made $1330 or 444c/kg.
Feedlot competition was scarce compared to previous sales with Peter Lee, Garrison Cattle Feeders, the only professional buyer present.
South and West Gippsland agents representing farmers bought a majority of the cattle on offer.
Nutrien Bairnsdale livestock manager Brad Obst said the mixed yarding offered something for everyone.
"I think that represented in the price because it was strong from the bottom to the top," Mr Obst said.
"People haven't got back to their full stocking capacity yet but people are getting their cattle through during what's not been a great season and they're being rewarded with some fantastic prices."
The National Livestock Reporting Service indicated heavy yearling steers eased about $100 a head.
"The big heavy steers we sold were nudging 370c/kg and I don't know if they would have made any more anywhere or last sale and I thought the weaner cattle showed a 20 to 30 cent rise," Mr Obst said.
Major buyers credited the overall quality and condition of the cattle, particularly considering East Gippsland is still experiencing below-average rainfall and technically in drought.
Smith Graziers sold the first pen of the sale with 15 steers, 507kg, for $1900 or 374c/kg.
B and J Traill sold 29 steers including 14, 519kg, for $1860 or 358c/kg and 15, 380kg, for $1570 or 413c/kg. They also sold 14 heifers, 357kg, for $1380 or 386c/kg.
R and S Reid sold 11 steers, 308kg, for $1310 or 425c/kg and 15 steers, 260kg, for $1190 or 457c/kg.
MT and RR Mitchell, Ensay Station, sold nine steers, 312kg, for $1250 or 400c/kg and 12, 312kg, for $1200 or 416c/kg.
Sharp Fullgrabe & Co director Graeme Fullgrabe put the easing of prices down to a wetter central Gippsland region.
"We expect a lot of our regular buyers to pull up for a month to six weeks," Mr Fullgrabe said.
"We're lacking runoff but we have had enough moisture to give us a reasonable spring although the frost has knocked us a round in the last month or so.
"Local restockers were quite active on the females and the cows and calves bought to be breeders along with a few fatteners."
Several pens of cows and calves were offered including C Hale who sold one cow with a calf at foot for $2200.
AD and MK Reed, Delegate, NSW, sold 20 preg-tested in-calf cows, 7-8 years, due to calve in September for $1750.
Elders Pakenham agent Ryan Bajada, who auctioned the agency's heifer portion, said the sale was soft in places.
"Females were good but there wasn't a lot of weight in the cattle so they sold accordingly but in central Gippsland the paddocks are fairly wet so those light cattle are ideal to tuck away," he said.
W Trimnell sold seven Hereford steers, 498kg, for $1670 or 385c/kg.
Snow Rural sold 36 steers including a pen of 15, 308kg, for $1350 or 438c/kg and 21, 278kg, for $1270 or 456c/kg.
Nungurner Hills sold 14 steers, 479kg, for $1780 or 371c/kg.
W and G Hall sold six steers, 377kg, for $1510 or 400c/kg.
JW and MA Broome sold nine Hereford steers, 449kg, for $1700 or 378c/kg.
KFT Investments sold 22 steers including 15, 546kg, for $1870 or 342c/kg and eight, 496kg, for $1730 or 349c/kg.
W and J Mraz sold five steers, 346kg, for $1390 or 401c/kg.
AJ and NJ Reed sold 15 steers, 242kg, for $1180 or 487c/kg.
KH and WR Ingram sold 15 steers, 333kg, for $1350 or 405c/kg.
P and R Sandy sold 16 steers, 289kg, for $1340 or 463c/kg.
EO and DI Newcomen sold six Hereford steers, 363kg, for $1420 or 391c/kg.
S McCole and S Miles sold seven Hereford steers, 342kg, for $1360 or 397c/kg.
In the heifers, AJ and NJ Reed sold 13 heifers, 220kg, for $890 or 404c/kg.
EO and DI Newcomen sold three Hereford steers, 330kg, for $1200 or 363c/kg.
R and S Reid sold 18 heifers including 10 black heifers, 298kg, for $1120 or 375c/kg and eight Hereford heifers, 251kg, for $1100 or 438c/kg.
A and K McFarlane sold 26 heifers including a pen of 13, 290kg, for $1150 or 396c/kg and a second pen of 13, 246kg, for $1070 or 434c/kg.
P and R Sandy sold 19 heifers including six, 310kg, for $1140 or 367c/kg.
Bayrook Pastoral sold 19 heifers including a pen of three, 281kg, for $1060 or 377c/kg.
TG Armstrong sold three cows with calves at foot for $2090.
J and K Fullgrabe sold one cow with a calf at foot for $1890.
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