A drop in northern orders had little effect on prices at Bairnsdale on Friday as South Gippsland bullock fatteners and local restockers took up the slack.
Light weaner steers sold to 680 cents a kilogram in a market where about 1180 cattle were yarded.
Prices for heavier cattle eased slightly mainly due to more secondary steers on offer compared to a fortnight ago.
Heifers sold to a top of 562c/kg.
One South Gippsland agency, SEJ Leongatha, bought 180 steers for bullock fatteners back home and an additional 100 heifers for clients to fatten.
Nutrien South Gippsland Livestock agent Eddie Hams, Leongatha, was also another volume buyer, purchasing about 100 steers weighing on average between 400-600kg for bullock fatteners in the same region. Mr Hams also bought about 60 heifers on behalf of local graziers to fatten.
Bill Wyndham & Co auctioneer Jake Fullgrabe said East Gippsland orders were strong considering the region was in desperate need of widespread rain.
"We never saw the northern buyers come over the mountain and their reports were last sale that they couldn't afford to pay the rate," Mr Fullgrabe said.
"Everyone locally has traded cattle so they need to buy in or they'll be left behind.
"We had a run of the Hurley calves and they sold their tops a fortnight ago but the seconds sold today made more so there certainly still is confidence in the market."
Nutrien Bairnsdale auctioneer Brad Obst said despite cattle showing less condition, competition for light calves was a strong as any recent sale.
"[Buyers] forget about the cents a kilo and are happy to pay $1200 to $1300 but aren't prepared to pay $1500 to $1800," Mr Obst said.
"In the better lines of heifers, they made from $1200 through to $1700 and the weaner cattle sold from $1200 through to the tops at around $1800 and the heavier cattle were from $1900 to $2300."
Mr Obst said the female sale was driven largely by substantial orders to restock locally, while feedlot competition was down on previous sales.
The dearest pen on a cents per kilogram basis was 15 Clonmore Angus steers, 191kg, which made $1300 or 680c/kg.
N Henderson sold 17 steers, 264kg, for $1440 or 545c/kg. The pen was bought by Elders Pakenham agent Doug Peachy for a bullock fattener in Drouin.
Shaw Pastoral Pty Ltd sold nine steers, 296kg, for $1460 or 493c/kg, and 17 steers, 260kg, for $1350 or 519c/kg.
Northern Farming Forestry Pty Ltd sold 27 steers, 255kg, for $1360 or 533c/kg and a second pen of 26 steers, 232kg, for $1360 or 586c/kg.
KP Hurley sold seven steers, 413kg, for $1770 or 428c/kg and 18 steers, 230kg, for $1370 or 595c/kg.
In the heifers section, K Newman sold 16 heifers, 234kg, for $1180 or 504c/kg, and 12, 208kg, for $1170 or 562c/kg.
Sharp Fullgrabe & Co auctioneer Brent Coster said the sale lacked the flare it had a fortnight ago.
"It was a strong market and the little cattle sold well but we didn't have as many lines of cattle as we did last sale," Mr Coster said.
"Good-grown bullocks sold to hot demand and the little cattle were very dear.
"There was a bit more local competition and we didn't have the number of buyers we did the previous week but the strength was still there in South Gippsland buyers."
The sale started with a pen of three Hereford steers by F & KM Crossfield, 588kg, which made $2100 or 357c/kg, and six steers, 517kg, for $1920 or 371c/kg.
Livingstone Partnership sold three steers, 553kg, for $2040 or 368c/kg, and 12, 343kg, for $1650 or 481c/kg.
G Condon & C Lee sold 20 steers, 365kg, for $1680 or 460c/kg.
S Baud sold 12 steers, 348kg, for $1680 or 478c/kg.
NA Cox sold 11 steers, 378kg, for $1690 or 447c/kg.
Brenton Kuch sold 17 steers, 296kg, for $1450 or 489c/kg.
Cameron & Crisp sold 12 steers, 380kg, for $1670 or 459c/kg.
Edney Bros sold nine steers, 288kg, for $1190 or 413c/kg.
R & A Chilla sold four steers, 408kg, for $2160 or 529c/kg.
J Matthews sold 10 steers, 583kg, for $2140 or 367c/kg.
L Johnstone sold 14 steers, 388kg, for $1610 or 414c/kg.
MT Raymond sold 21 steers, 358kg, for $1690 or 472c/kg.
D Betts, Benambra, sold 12 Hereford steers, 435kg, for $1910 or 439c/kg.
Jambro Pastoral sold eight steers, 408kg, for $1780 or 436c/kg.
Fairhaven sold nine steers, 320kg, for $1650 or 515c/kg.
Fairhaven sold nine heifers, 278kg, for $1300 or 467c/kg.
M & M Wickfedlt sold eight heifers, 289kg, for $1320 or 456c/kg.
G & D Freshwater sold nine heifers, 397kg, for $1790 or 450c/kg.
S Baud sold 13 heifers, 345kg, for $1560 or 452c/kg.
Hammond Logging sold seven heifers, 372kg, for $1670 or 448c/kg.
N Henderson sold 18 heifers, 255kg, for $1210 or 474c/kg.
Cows and calves
LH & SE Pendergast sold nine cows, not rejoined, with calves at foot for $2000.
K Hescock sold six cows with calves at foot for $2420.
J & G Clancy sold 10 cows (third and fifth calvers) with calves at foot for $2600.
P Smith sold six cows with calves at foot for $2780.
C & T Hanrahan sold two cows with calves at foot for $2460.
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