Prices for bigger cattle softened a touch at Pakenham on Thursday but opinions are divided on what that means for farmers looking to offload cattle due to wet conditions in South and West Gippsland.
The yarding of about 2300 cattle was a little smaller and the quality a touch poorer, said both Alex Scott & Staff agent David Setches and Elders agent Carlo Taranto.
Both also said the feedlots were very dominant buyers, particularly those from northern Victoria.
"It might have been slightly off than a fortnight ago for the lighter cattle," Mr Setches said.
"Feedlots were once again very dominant and the heavier cattle weighing 400-580 kilograms was the category operating very strongly for the steers," he said.
He said heifers sold "pretty firm" up to 412 cents a kilogram with feedlots again the keenest buyers for the 350-460kg category.
Carlo Taranto said the quality was fair to reasonable.
"I think we're getting to the end of the spring-drop calves so I think the quality is starting to be minimal and that probably showed in the market results yesterday.
"The market was off the boil slightly. There was really a limited buying fraternity there but all the feedlot and commissioned buyers were all present but I think they were a little reserved and cautious about the price and how many they purchased.
"It's difficult because nobody was allowed in the market. Agents were representing the locals but it's just got very wet and very cold. I think that's another reason why that sort of buying gallery has diminished as well."
Vendors were allowed into the saleyards between 8.30 and 9.30am before the selling began.
Mr Taranto didn't think the absence of local buyers had taken any pressure off the feedlotters.
"I think that those locals are buying smaller cattle, they're not wanting bigger cattle because it's so wet, whereas feedlotters can put cattle into feedlots in the north where it's dry," he said.
Mr Taranto said there was no rush of cattle onto the market due to the wet.
"The wet has slowed everything and it's become a bit of a stalemate. It's so difficult to move cattle, to feed them and to yard them to buy and sell cattle because you'll just get bogged," he said.
One of those struggling with mud was Geoff Murray, who is finding it difficult to get machinery onto his Nar Nar Goon paddocks.
"It's absolutely shocking," Mr Murray said.
"There are some places we can't get in with the Toyota to feed cows, it just leaves a six-inch track all the way through, you're spinning and we've got to do it with the tractor now and that's not much better.
"You give them 10 minutes with a bale and it's finished because they tread half or more into the ground. That's the worst part.
"I think it's the worst I've ever seen it. There's water laying where we've never seen it before."
Mr Murray, who normally calves down about 250 head, offloaded two lots of cattle in the last two sales and has sold 150-180 more head than he usually would have by this time of year.
He'd normally carry them through to about 600kg but sold 27 steers and 18 heifers weighing just over 300kg yesterday.
"We'll try to keep the rest until spring but if it stays like this we'll be selling them," Mr Murray said.
But Mr Taranto said he would encourage anyone thinking of reducing stock levels not to hold off until spring.
"I think prices are outstanding at the moment," he said.
"I'm saying, if you can and it suits you, I'd be selling because we just don't know what's going to happen around the corner.
"I think there could be a lot of cattle that were bought and went into the north because the season has been so good and all those cattle will come back into the system.
"In August, September, October, there will be an influx of numbers. All the cattle that have been put out on feed by the processors are going to be ready so I think the numbers will still be there."
S Prentice, Merricks, sold 19, $2180, 584kg, 373c/kg.
Malacarne, Yarragon, sold 22, $2110, 546kg, 386c/kg.
R&J Coates, Koo Wee Rup, sold 18, $2080, 527kg, 394c/kg and another pen of 22 at $1950, 480kg, 406c/kg.
C Bye, sold 18 at $2000, 509kg, 392c/kg.
S Bentley, Garfield, sold 17 at $2110, 517kg, 408c/kg.
DS & RE Jones sold 11 at $1800, 461kg, 3990c/kg.
S Bentley, Garfield, sold 27 at $1960, 498kg, 393c/kg.
Yulong, Strzelecki, sold 5 at $1580, 410kg, 385c/kg plus a pen of 6 at $1300, 320kg, 406c/kg, and two at $1100, 295kg, 372c/kg.
JK Tanner, Tyres, sold 17 at $2060, 493kg, 417c/kg.
E&C Lissenden, Yarragon, sold 10 at $1170, 267kg, 438c/kg.
T&J Looten Ryanston, sold 17 at $1200, 255kg, 470c/kg.
G Murray, Nar Nar Goon, sold 27 @$1290, 304kg, 424c/kg.
D Fussell, Nilma North, sold 13 at $1600, 422kg, 379c/kg.
D&R Jones, Fulham, sold 13 at $1700, 461kg, 368c/kg.
R&P Wuchatsch, Nar Nar Goon North, sold 18 at $1700, 443kg, 383c/kg.
D&J Jeffery, Ventnor, sold 12 at $1350, 350kg, 385c/kg.
P&J Green, Koo Wee Rup, sold 20 at $1070, 283kg, 378c/kg.
G Murray, Nar Nar Goon, sold 18 at $1110, 299kg, 371c/kg.
ABN Moyle, St Clare, sold 23 at $990, 223kg, 443c/kg.
Sale results courtesy of Alex Scott & Staff agent David Setches.
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