An oversupply of heavy steers caused prices to ease at Pakenham on Thursday by as much as 10 to 15 cents a kilogram.
Agents yarded 3000 cattle for the fortnightly store market, where a handful of drafts of weaner cattle were yarded as primary producers continue to take advantage of the buoyant prices.
Condition and weight varied across the yarding, however, major buyers from northern Victoria and NSW along with commission, feedlot and processor orders helped strengthen the sale's bottom line.
A feature of the sale was 157 mixed sex weaner calves, seven to nine months, offered by Markana Farms, Lang Lang.
The draft included 79 heifers and 78 steers with the steers selling to $1700 or 515c/kg, and their sisters reaching $1560 or 465c/kg.
Markana Farms' first pen of 22 steers, 358kg, made $1700 or 474c/kg, its third pen of 30 steers, 333kg, made $1660 or 498c/kg and its fourth pen of steers, 295kg, made $1520 or 515c/kg.
The tops of the heifer draft included a pen of 22, 328kg, which made $1560 or 475c/kg, 22, 318kg, made $1490 or 468c/kg and 15, 307kg, made $1350 or 439c/kg.
Markana Farms manager Greg Mackay said he was pleased with the strong result after opting to forward the line of cattle two months earlier than usual due to the ongoing strength of store market prices.
Selling agent Alex Scott & Staff auctioneer David Setches said the best of the heifer portion was purchased to grow out and join, while backgrounders were keen on the steers.
However, he described the sale as "patchy on the heavy steers".
"Heavy steers 500 to 600 kilos may have been 10 cents easier," Mr Setches said.
A noticeably larger gallery of buyers was present for the sale as the easing coronavirus restrictions paved the way for more people to be allowed to enter the Victorian Livestock Exchange.
Northern orders by Albury-based commission buyer Duncan Brown and Northern Victoria Livestock director Jayden Ferrari helped bolster competition and demand, agents said, while regular volume buyers including Denis Henderson, Campbell Ross and Anthony Hullick were also active completing orders.
Another feature draft of the sale included 180 Angus 16-month-old mixed sex cattle offered by Abbotts Pastoral, Avenel, including 88 steers and 92 heifers.
The steers sold to $1630 or 511c/kg, while the heifers made from $1500 or 441c/kg.
Abbotts Pastoral's first pen of 18 steers, 352kg, made $1630 or 463c/kg, its second pen of 20 steers, 332kg, made $1580 or 475c/kg, while its third pen of 24 steers, 295kg, made $1510 or 511c/kg.
The first heifer pen of 26, 362kg, made $1500 or 414c/kg, the second pen of 30, 334kg, made $1440 or 431c/kg, and the first pen of 24 heifers, 308kg, made $1360 or 441c/kg.
Selling agent Elders Pakenham auctioneer Michael Robertson said the line sold to strong demand, but noticed some fluctuations on the heavier end of cattle.
"The sale was strong but it was 10 to 15 cents cheaper in some areas, particularly in the heavy end of the cattle above 500 kilos," Mr Robertson said.
"There's a lot of fat cattle getting about and our fat market has pulled back a fraction so we saw a correction because of that."
Among the dearest pens, P Payner, Willow Grove, sold nine heavy Angus steers, 635kg, for $2360 or 371c/kg.
Geoff Murray, Nar Nar Goon, sold seven Angus steers, 662kg, and 10 Charolais steers, 627kg, for $2380 or 359c/kg and 379c/kg, respectively.
C Foster, Coldstream, sold eight steers, 627kg, for $2340 or 373c/kg and MK & KM Family Trust, Drouin, sold 14 steers, 597kg, for $2240 or 375c/kg.
Meanwhile, S Barwick, Drouin, sold 18 steers, 270kg, for $1460 or 540c/kg and 14 heifers, 283kg, for $1230 or 452c/kg.
AL & AM Forte, Tonimbuk, sold a draft of Charolais cattle, 12-13 months, including 18 steers, 329kg, for $1500 or 455c/kg, 14 heifers, 343kg, for $1690 or 492c/kg, and 19 heifers, 286kg, for $1370 or 479c/kg.
F Ellerson, Pakenham South, sold 41 steers, 442kg, for $1960 or 443c/kg.
Nathan Gibbon Livestock manager Nathan Gibbon noticed similar trends but said the influx of fat cattle was bound to happen "sooner or later".
"Some of the cattle that made between $1300 and $1500 sold very well and most of those cattle wouldn't have been weighed but the heavier end of them would've only been 320 or 330 kilos," Mr Gibbon said.
"The grass has made for a very good job although we haven't had a huge amount of rain so the season is starting to dry out.
"We had black heifers that made between 400 and 420 cents and they weighed about 400 kilos."
D & Y Stevens, Winchelsea South, sold 12 Hereford steers, 450kg, for $1800 or 400c/kg, and 10 Angus steers, 483kg, for $1960 or 405c/kg.
M & M Baxter, Drouin South, sold eight Angus steers, 510kg, for $1980 or 388c/kg.
P Van Derven, Koo Wee Rup, sold 18 Angus steers, 540kg, for $2130 or 394c/kg.
RV Rieniets, Moe, sold 20 steers, 393kg, for $1750 or 445c/kg.
AJ & EJ Board, Catani, sold five steers, 296kg, for $1560 or 527c/kg.
King Valley, Warragul, sold eight Charolais steers, 303kg, for $1500 or 495c/kg.
D & C Pastoral, Modella, sold 13 steers, 562kg, for $2180 or 387c/kg.
J & P Loveridge, Shoreham, sold 10 steers, 543kg, for $2190 or 403c/kg, and eight steers, 494kg, for $1950 or 403c/kg.
K & B Alford sold 17 steers, 466kg, for $1900 or 407c/kg, and 13 steers, 440kg, for $1890 or 429c/kg.
P Thomas, Gormandale, 12 steers, 550kg, for $2150 or 390c/kg.
Manduramt, Yannathan, sold 11 heifers, 325kg, for $1480 or 455c/kg.
M Osbourne, Yannathan, sold 23 heifers, 411kg, for $1520 or 369c/kg.
Blackforest Pastoral, Werribee, sold 18 heifers, 418kg, for $1720 or 411c/kg.
Woodlands Park, Ararat, sold 28 Hereford heifers, 338kg, for $1460 or 431c/kg.
Have you signed up to Stock & Land's daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to Victorian agriculture.