A higher-quality yarding attracted strong volume buyer support and renewed grazier confidence at Leongatha's store cattle sale on Friday.
Agents drew for 4500 cattle in one of the biggest sales in the last six months, yarding about 4000 cattle including 1500 heifers.
The additional competition among feedlots and volume buyers - who were absent from the first September store sale - contributed to the buoyant market.
One of those buyers, Duncan Brown, Albury, bought about 300 cattle for restockers in northern Victoria and southern NSW.
Prices for weaner cattle were as dear as recent sales with steer calves selling to 574c/kg, while cattle heavier than 500 kilograms on average sold above 410c/kg.
Meanwhile, Angus heifers sold to an incredible 546c/kg.
A feature draft of the sale included 108 Charolais Angus-cross, Angus and SimAngus mixed sex yearling-off cattle, 13 to 15 months, offered by the Castello family at Thorpdale.
The dearest pen of the line-up was for the first pen of 18 Charolais steers which weighed an average of 526 kg and made $2180 or 414c/kg. The second pen, 493kg, made $2090 or 424c/kg.
A pen of 14 SimAngus steers, 506kg, made $2140 or 422c/kg, while a pen of 16 Angus steers, 438kg, made $1930 or 440c/kg.
The Castello family also sold one of the dearest pens of heifers with 18, 467kg, making $1850 or 396c/kg, and another 20, 419kg, selling for $1690 or 403c/kg.
Better-bred steers under 320kg sold for more than 500c/kg on average.
Among the dearest pens on a cents per kilogram basis, B & K Commins, Meringo Pastoral, Benambra, sold 20 steers, 261kg, which made $1500 or 574c/kg, and 15, 269kg, which made $1520 or 565c/kg. Both pens were bought by a client on the Mornington Peninsula.
Meringo Pastoral also sold a draft of 148 heifers including a pen of 23 Black Baldys, 269kg, for $1370 or 509c/kg and 23, 247kg, for $1340 or 542c/kg.
The same vendor sold a pen of 29 Angus heifers, 258kg, for $1400 or 542c/kg and 30, 247kg, for $1350 or 546c/kg. Seventeen heifers, 225kg, sold for $1200 or 533c/kg and 26, 236kg, made $1240 or 525kg.
GM Kensley, Leongatha, sold 19 steers, 260kg, for $1430 or 550c/kg.
Nutrien Leongatha livestock manager Brian McCormack described the sale as "absolutely unbelievable".
"We had about 1300 steers and the quality of them was exceptional," Mr McCormack said.
"We had the tops of a lot of our vendors' drops here today and that's because people have been able to hold onto their lines of cattle and not sell them in one go.
"You got the best of the best out of everyone's cattle."
A draft of 190 cattle offered by Gem-Bare Ag, Inverneath, Finley, NSW, sold to strong demand. The first pen of 20 steers, 371kg, made $1650 or 455c/kg.
The second pen of 25 steers, 343kg, made $1650 or 481c/kg while the third pen of 13, 365kg, made $1730 or 473c/kg.
Elders Korumburra and Leongatha livestock manager Rohan McRae said prices were higher than a fortnight ago due to only one other store sale - in Warrnambool - being held at the same time.
"There was something for everyone and prices were fully firm to dearer," Mr McRae said.
"The market was buoyant and graziers were very active. While feedlots were there buying cattle, the graziers stepped it up to another level."
S Fahey, Tyers, sold 12 heifers, 437kg, for $1780 or 407c/kg.
Nethercote Trading Pty Ltd, Traralgon, sold 18 heifers, 442kg, for $1800 or 407c/kg, and 19, 396kg, for $1600 or 404c/kg.
On a cents per kilogram basis, O'Loughlin Farms, Tarwin, sold 32 Angus heifers, 286kg, for $1330 or 465c/kg.
Alex Scott & Staff livestock manager Rob Ould said secondary cattle were also dearer than a fortnight ago with people keen to buy livestock as South Gippsland continues to dry out.
"We had a few extra feedlots and more northern competition and that certainly helped the result," Mr Ould said.
"A few of the locals stepped in and bought cattle too and the cattle presented very well - all we need now is some warmer weather and cattle will start flying.
"You only need a few days of sunshine and the grass will start moving so that will put even more confidence back in the job."
Mr Ould said competition on female cattle was more prevalent compared to a fortnight ago.
"I saw a lot more people trading heifers as an alternative from steers and we have noticed a lot of people are diversifying their operation due to the high prices," he said.
JB & ME Lamb, Denison, sold 12 steers, 597kg, for $2350 or 393c/kg.
Richards & Rae, Ryanston, sold 11 steers, 271kg, for $1390 or 512c/kg.
Von Pace Pastoral, Giffard West, sold 1 3 steers, 481kg, for $1930 or 401c/kg
K & L Holmes, Boolarra, sold 15 steers, 456kg, for $1930 or 456c/kg.
GL & AC Anthony, Meeniyan, sold 18 steers, 453kg, for $1900 or 419c/kg.
F Colaciello, Tyers, sold 15 steers, 473kg, for $2010 or 429c/kg.
Mana Gums, Darnum, sold 16 steers, 490kg, for $1980 or 404c/kg.
N & B Wynne, Maffra, sold 20 steers, 457kg, for $1910 or 417c/kg.
G & G Thompson, Stony Creek, sold nine steers, 413kg, for $1790 or 433c/kg.
G & H Foat, Woodside, sold 19 steers, 365kg, for $1760 or 482c/kg, and 13, 308kg, for $1630 or 529c/kg.
D & H Campbell, Mardan, sold 20 steers, 331kg, for $1710 or 516c/kg.
G Goldsworthy, Tyers, sold 14 steers, 273kg, for $1370 or 501c/kg.
High Voltage Consultancy, Traralgon, sold 13 steers, 384kg, for $1460 or 514c/kg.
DR & JL Osment, sold eight steers, 551kg, for $2160 or 392c/kg.
JWG Dean, Rosedale, sold 16 steers, 399kg, for $1850 or 463c/kg.
B Cruachan Pastoral sold 15 steers, 516kg, for $2130 or 412c/kg.
CJ Pendergast, Omeo Station, Benambra, sold eight steers, 364kg, for $1620 or 445c/kg.
Providence Ridge sold nine steers, 301kg, for $1520 or 504c/kg.
Malabar Farm, Tarwin Lower, 20 steers, 295kg, $1590 and 538c/kg.
R & J Edwards, Fish Creek, sold 13 Angus heifers, 340kg, for $1460 or 429c/kg, and 22 Red Angus heifers, 338kg, for $1400 or 414c/kg.
Southern Pastoral, Fish Creek, sold 18 Angus heifers, 390kg, for $1750 or 448c/kg.
RK Brunley, Wooreen, sold four heifers, 343kg, for $1380 or 402c/kg.
M Jackson, Hallston, sold 15 Hereford heifers, 305kg, for $1360 or 445c/kg.
G & H Foat, Woodside, sold 20 heifers, 317kg, for $1470 or 463c/kg.
Luke Higgins, Sale, sold 12 cows with six-month-old calves at foot for $2800.
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