Store cattle prices eased at Pakenham on Thursday due to the absence of a few large volume buyers and a mixed yarding from across West Gippsland.
Agents said heavy steers weighing more than 400 kilograms shed between 10 and 25 cents a kilogram, however, weaner calves sold to consistent rates and strong demand.
Processor and feedlot activity underpinned the sale, agents said, with Westside, Gathercole and J&F Feedlot all active during the 2400-head fortnightly sale.
Restocking activity was less present than a fortnight ago, as coronavirus restrictions continue to prevent smaller operators and local farmers from entering the livestock exchange.
Prices for heifers also eased, but not as much as the steers, with Angus heifer calves selling on average between 380-400c/kg.
A feature of the sale was 27 pregnancy-tested in-calf heifers, offered by David and Heather Wigg, Maffra, which made $2200.
The two pens of first calvers, two-and-a-half years old, are due to calve in February and March 2021 and were bought by Delaney Property & Livestock for a client in central Gippsland.
Alex Scott & Staff Pakenham auctioneer David Setches said the absence of one large feedlot buyer in particular contributed to a lull in prices.
"It was anywhere from five to 10 cents a kilogram cheaper on those steers weighing 500 to 600 kilograms," Mr Setches said.
"The likes of J&F Feedlot were quite selective in the weights and size of heifers they were purchasing but once you got away from the feedlot specs, there were plenty of opportunities to buy heifers."
Peter Evans, Bass, sold a draft of mixed sex calves including a top pen of 12 steers, 346kg, for $1590 or 459c/kg and 24 heifers, 318kg, for $1320 or 415c/kg.
The draft of 49 steers weighed between 281-346kg and made from $1415-$1590 or 459-503c/kg.
His draft of 59 heifers ranged between 236-318kg and sold from $1090-$1320 or 415-461c/kg.
Wiltara Farms Pty Ltd, Clyde, sold 72 Angus, Hereford and Angus Hereford-cross steers including a top pen of 30 steers, 350kg, for $1480 or 422c/kg.
The second pen of 20 steers, 311kg, made $1460 or 469c/kg while the third pen of 22 Hereford steers, 332kg, made $1350 or 406c/kg.
Malanda Pastoral, Stradbroke, sold one of the dearest pens of heifers on a cents per kilogram basis. The pen of 22, 330kg, sold for $1640 or 496c/kg.
Elders Pakenham auctioneer Michael Robertson said the sale lacked the "sting" it had a fortnight ago.
"We didn't have any exceptional, heavy-weight feeder steers to quote on but your weaner calves, about 300 kilos, were anywhere between 20 to 25 cents cheaper a kilogram," Mr Robertson said.
"We really rely on our farmers and graziers to buy those sorts of cattle and they weren't here because not a lot of them like to leave an order with agents during the current pandemic."
Nutrien Delaney Property & Livestock director Anthony Delaney said another reason the sale was slightly cheaper was due to it clashing with Mortlake's monthly store sale in the Western District where 3700 cattle were yarded on Thursday morning.
"A few of our major and regular buyers weren't here so prices did ease back on your secondary back cattle," Mr Delaney said.
"However, your main lines and better bred cattle sold to equal rates."
The sale experienced an influx in numbers yarded, up from 1800 earlier in the week, as producers continue to take advantage of the lucrative prices on offer for store cattle.
"Our best heifers made $1660, weighing 343 kilos, and that was standard across the sale but once the quality dropped off, so did the price," Mr Delaney said.
"A majority of our cattle stayed local to local agents and not even really South Gippsland agents, a lot of our cattle went up to the Yarra Valley and so forth."
The sale started with a pen of six, offered by G Cochrane, 606kg, which made $2280 or 364c/kg.
Mattosphren, Yarragon, sold six steers, 355kg, for $1460 or 411c/kg and six steers, 289kg, for $1290 or 446c/kg.
Ms R Turner, Kyneton, sold 15 Charolais steers, 343kg, for $1580 or 460c/kg.
RF & BJ Murcott, Yannathan, sold 14 steers, 522kg, for $1980 or 375c/kg, and another 14, 437kg, for $1750 or 400c/kg.
Pepperhill Trading, Willow Grove, sold 16 steers, 318kg, for $1330 or 418c/kg.
Fenwick Stud Farm, Woodstock, sold 17 Hereford steers, 365kg, for $1340 or 367c/kg.
H & R Vierke, Jindivick, sold 15 steers, 295kg, for $160 or 461c/kg.
Wanrua Herefords, Newry, sold 12 steers, 416kg, for $1530 or 450c/kg, and 18 steers, 340kg, for $1360 or 400c/kg.
Barrymore Est. Vineyard, Tuerong, sold six steers, 350kg, for $1450 or 414c/kg.
A & J Jones, Sale, sold 17 Charolais steers, 312kg, for $1320 or 423c/kg.
K & P Christian, Cottles Bridge, sold 15 steers, 454kg, for $1840 or 405c/kg.
RB & VG Peterson, Drouin South, sold 17 steers, 396kg, for $1660 or 419c/kg.
G & N Scamporlino sold 24 steers, 380kg, for $1610 or 423c/kg.
Quarterford Angus Stud sold 11 steers, 407kg, for $1700 or 417c/kg, and 13 steers, 373kg, for $1670 or 447c/kg.
Patterson Road Investments, Officer, sold 23 steers, 358kg, for $1530 or 427c/kg.
Clover Pastoral Co sold 20 steers, 340kg, for $1510 or 473c/kg.
NQ Parke, Ellinbank, sold 14 Angus steers, 415kg, for $1660 or 400c/kg.
L Mauro, Fingal, sold five hifers, 384kg, for $1450 or 377c/kg.
Ms R Turner, Kyneton, sold 13 Charolais heifers, 327kg, for $1340 or 409c/kg.
Pepperhill Trading, Willow Grove, sold 22 heifers, 350kg, for $1400 or 400c/kg.
AJ Chatfield Services, Cora Lynn, sold 28 heifers, 310kg, for $1120 or 361c/kg.
D & H Wigg, Maffra, sold six heifers, 505kg,for $1800 or 356c/kg.
A & J Jones, Sale, sold 13 Charolais heifers, 319kg, for $1270 or 398c/kg.
RA Jones, Glen Forbes, sold 14 heifers, 295kg, for $1190 or 403c/kg.