Quality lines of vendor-bred cattle were hard to source at Pakenham on Thursday during a market where prices continued to climb as feedlots and bullock fatteners went head-to-head.
Agents yarded 1680 cattle for the fortnightly store sale in a market which offered a very mixed yarding in terms of condition and breed.
Despite the poorer-quality yarding, prices were firm-to-dearer and in some places up by $100 a head on light cattle compared to a fortnight ago, agents said.
Quality generally lacked due to a lot of secondary cattle and "bits and pieces" being forwarded along with the tail ends of drafts of cattle which had been sold in recent weeks.
Nutrien Delaney Livestock & Property director Anthony Delaney said the result was a reflection of the strong prime market, which has also experienced a rise in prices, and continues to show no signs of slowing down.
He described the yarding as that similar to something buyers would experience in winter.
"Everything is making the strong prices, not just your good lines of cattle, but your ones and twos and threes and fours and as long as they have the breeding, they're making the same money the big lots are," Mr Delaney said.
"We're in the middle of one of the best springs everyone thinks we're going to have so people are either hanging onto their cattle to make them bigger or they're just not there.
"It was your smaller lots and singles that might have been $100 to $150 cheaper a fortnight ago."
Towards the end of the sale, Dane Perczyk, Leongatha, sold four Charolais cows with four calves by a Rangan Charolais bull, rejoined, for $4050.
He also sold two Charolais cows with Rangan Charolais calves at foot for $3500.
Feedlots were active and competitive on heifers, while South Gippsland bullock fatteners were vying for cattle to go back to the paddock to grow out.
Nutrien South Gippsland Livestock agent Eddie Hams, Korumburra, was one of those buyers, purchasing about 100 steers on behalf of clients, as was Elders Korumburra and Leongatha livestock manager Rohan McRae who bought more than 70 steers for clients back home.
Feature lines included a draft forwarded by Jerard Brewer, Greta, which comprised 66 Angus steers, 12 months, including a top pen of 14 steers, 439kg, for $1900 or 432c/kg.
His second pen of 16 steers, 416kg, made $1860 or 447c/kg, and his third pen of 16, 416kg, made $1740 or 474c/kg.
He also sold a pen of 15 heifers, 509kg, for $1950 or 383c/kg.
AJ Arundell, Colac, sold a draft of 58 Hereford steers including a top pen of 22, 436kg, for $1770 or 405c/kg and the lightest pen of 17, 270kg, for $1390 or 514c/kg.
Monomeith Park, Monomeith, sold a draft of 65 Angus steers including a top pen of 23, 463kg, for $1930 or 416c/kg, and a second pen of 21, 413kg, for $1770 or 428c/kg.
Alex Scott & Staff auctioneer David Setches estimated some lighter cattle rose in places by $80 to $100.
"I had some cattle out today which I expected would make around 500c/kg for calves weighing 280 to 300 kilos and a lot of them made up to 560c/kg," Mr Setches said.
"It was underpinned by feedlot competition and you had to bowl them out to get anywhere.
"Most of the lines that would normally be sold around this time of year have been sold so we're back to the bottom ends and tail ends of the drafts ... hence the smaller lots in the yard we offered."
In the heavier steer section, JC & RM Sidwell, Blind Bight, sold two steers, 635kg, for $2460 or 387c/kg.
JL Branca Pty Ltd, Mount Eliza, sold 12 steers, 22 to 24 months, 573kg, for $2270 or 396c/kg, and a second pen of 12, 542kg, for $2150 or 396c/kg.
D & H Wigg, Maffra, sold 16 Charolais steers, 18 to 20 months, 504kg, for $2060 or 403c/kg.
Nathan Gibbon Livestock director Nathan Gibbon said grass fever had well and truly kicked off in West Gippsland.
"I sold a draft of dairy beef-cross Ironbark Ridge steers from Tinamba which weighed 575 kilos and made $2210 or 384 cents a kilo and I thought that was tremendous money," Mr Gibbon said.
"The smaller cattle sold very well and as the grass is starting to grow in West Gippsland, (light steers) along with the feedlot cattle sold very well."
D & R Scott, Stony Creek, sold six Speckle Park heifers, rejoined, with calves at foot for $3450, and three Angus heifers, rejoined, with Speckle Park calves at foot for $3825, and two Hereford heifers, rejoined, with Speckle Park calves for $3350.
Medhurst Wines, Gruyere, sold 22 steers, 326kg, for $1650 or 506c/kg.
P & M Hyland, Nar Nar goon, sold 10 steers, 308kg, for $1560 or 506c/kg.
Robinson & Hasthorpe, Tanjil South, sold eight steers, 357kg, for $1610 or 450c/kg.
MG Stapleton Pty Ltd, Darrawiet Gum, sold 19 steers, 292kg, for $1480 or 506c/kg.
B & A Spiden, Glen Forbes, sold 17 steers, 346kg, for $1660 or 479c/kg and 14, 280kg, for $1410 or 503c/kg.
LJ Barrett, Trafalgar, sold nine steers, 315kg, for $1600 or 507c/kg.
Alanvale Dairy, Neerim, sold 12 Charolais-cross steers, 543kg, for $2150 or 395c/kg.
Medhurst Wines, Gruyere, sold 18 heifers, 281kg, for $1380 or 491c/kg.
Robinson & Hasthorpe, Tanjil South, sold eight heifers, 324kg, for $1390 or 429c/kg.
LJ Barrett, Trafalgar, sold 13 heifers, 303kg, for $1350 or 445c/kg.
Bergamin Pastoral, Willow Grove, sold a draft of heifers including a pen of two, 485kg, for $1940 or 400c/kg, and 18, 485kg, for $1890 or 389c/kg.
Running Water Angus, Seville, sold nine heifers, 266kg, for $1250 or 469c/kg.
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