Vendors selling cattle at Wangaratta's inaugural weaner sale on Wednesday were rewarded with some of the best prices paid for weaner cattle this year, 12 months after fire tore through parts of the region.
Weaner steers sold to $2200 in the feature market while light calves under 250 kilograms made up to 632 cents a kilogram.
Strong northern demand and feedlot competition from NSW and South Australia underpinned the sale, agents said, as restockers and bullock fatteners vied to secure suitable lines of cattle.
Agents yarded 3000 weaners at the special store sale created to ease the pressure from the nearby Barnawartha yards where more than 10,000 cattle are set to be sold this week.
Corcoran Parker director Kevin Corcoran said the overall presentation of cattle was "second to none" and reflected the "marvellous" season in the north-east and southern Riverina.
"Cattle were a bit heavier than last year but generally there wasn't the tail in the cattle and the presentation was far better than last year," Mr Corcoran said.
"Price-wise it was on the top of expectations and we were in the ballpark figure of what cattle were making across southern Australia."
Strong support from buyers in the north-east of Victoria and southern Riverina helped strengthen competition among steers and heifers, while northern orders from the New England region and further afield bolstered demand.
"After the kicking vendors had 12 months ago with the bushfires and the huge heat problems and drought ... I think this is a bit of payback for them here today," Mr Corcoran said.
"I wish all the buyers the very best because they will need everything going their way season-wise to grow some profit out of them."
The sale started with a draft of Deepdale, Seaton Park, steers from Tallarook which sold to $2250.
"The first pen, 11-month-old weaner steers and guaranteed not one older than that made $2250 and that was credit to the breeder and reflective of the season we've had," Mr Corcoran said.
The top pen of 18 Angus steers, 459kg, made 490c/kg, while the second pen of 21 steers, 425kg, made $2060 or 484c/kg.
Vendor Steve Clarke, of Deepdale, Seaton Park, said it was "the bloody best result in my entire life".
Elders Wangaratta and Albury territory sales manager Oliver Mason said feature lines of cattle fetched mega money.
"The feature lines of cattle were sought after by those online as well as those from the north and cattle that weighed 380 to 390 kilos made up to 500 cents a kilogram so that's a huge result," Mr Mason said.
"The few light calves we had sold extremely well too and people kept getting pushed back further and further on those."
The dearest pen of calves on a cents a kilogram basis was offered by DFK Heywood & Sons, Glenlock, Everton, fetching 632c/kg for a pen of 29 steers, 253kg, which went under the hammer for $1600.
Vendor Dennis Heywood sold 400 Angus steers in the sale, including a top pen of 26, 371kg, for $1850 or 498c/kg, as well 198 heifers to $1650.
His steer portion averaged $1725, while his heifer portion averaged $1588.
"They Heywoods are long-term supporters of our calf sales and it's a credit to them for presenting such an even, well-bred line," Mr Mason said.
The Heywoods also sold 20 heifers, 268kg, for $1485 or 554c/kg and another 20, 232kg, for $1440 or 620c/kg.
Another feature line included 526 Angus steers offered by father and son duo, Rod and Rodda Manning, trading as Davilak Pastoral Co, Mansfield.
The draft started with a pen of 26 steers, 394kg, which made $1910 or 484c/kg, followed by a pen of 25, 392kg, which fetched $1890 or 484c/kg.
As the draft became lighter, the cents a kilogram rose with the lightest pen of 31 steers, 311kg, selling for $1750 or 562c/kg.
Prices maintained intensity when the heifers came around with the first six pens of females all selling for above $1600.
Cameron and Tracey Healy, Osbournes Flat, were awarded the gong for best presented pen of females with a pen of 28 heifers, 369kg, which made $1710 or 463c/kg.
The McDonald family of Rosewhite, trading as Macsway Pty Ltd (formerly WN McDonald & Son) sold 93 steers including 56 over two pens which made $1840 or 470c/kg.
Data obtained from AuctionsPlus showed cattle were purchased by buyers across Victoria and southern, central and northern NSW, with bidding activity from across eastern Australia.
More than 280 people registered to bid in the sale which had more than 440 people view the auction.
Anslee Pastoral, Mansfield, sold 27 steers, 371kg, for $1845 or 497c/kg.
M & B Roche, Whorouly, sold 22 steers, 390kg, for $1850 or 474c/kg.
Atrium 1, Mansfield, sold 21 steers, 366kg, for $1795 or 490c/kg.
H Kirkbride, Baddaginnie, sold 21 steers, 375kg, for $1830 or 488c/kg.
Pulitano Pastoral, Merrijig, sold 34 steers, 349kg, for $1790 or 512c/kg.
AWS Blair, Staghorn Flat, sold 13 steers, 387kg, for $1800 or 465c/kg.
J & H Dawson sold 18 heifers, 317kg, for $1530 or 482c/kg.
The Pelican, Oxley Flats, sold 19 heifers, 462kg, for $1800 or 389c/kg.
Brown Owl, Mansfield, sold 28 heifers, 343kg, for $1630 or 475c/kg.
S Adams, Mansfield, sold 12 heifers, 378kg, for $1595 or 486c/kg.
M & B Roche, Whorouly, sold 18 heifers, 370kg, for $1730 or 467c/kg.
M & B McPherson, Bowmans Forest, sold 22 heifers, eight to nine months, for $1525 or 571c/kg.
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