Several vendor-bred drafts of cattle headlined Leongatha's store cattle sale on Friday as increased feeder competition forced restockers onto lighter pens of steers.
Agents yarded about 4200 cattle at the Victorian Livestock Exchange for the second spring sale as weaner calves passed 750 cents a kilogram.
Many graziers went home empty handed and with spring grass growth yet to kick off in South Gippsland, it has many buyers worried about where prices could go in the coming weeks.
A feature of the sale was 100 Simmental/Angus-cross and Charolais/Angus-cross calves consigned by the Castello family, trading as Castello Farms of Thorpdale.
The July and August 2020-drop draft included a pen of 10 Charolais steers, 518 kilograms, which made $2760 a head or 532 cents a kilogram.
A pen of 18 black cattle, 559kg, made $3100 or 544c/kg, while a second pen of Simmental/Angus-cross steers, 468kg, went under the hammer for $2880 or 615c/kg.
The Castellos also sold 14 Charolais heifers, 434kg, for $2360 or 543c/kg and another 10, 399kg, for $2260 or 566c/kg.
Nutrien South Gippsland Livestock manager Brian McCormack said the quality of the yarding was a vast improvement on the sale a fortnight ago.
"For steers that are only 12 months of age and to weigh out to 559 kilos is absolute quality," he said.
Mr McCormack said well-conditioned cattle more than 600kg made $3000-$3300, while cattle above 510kg made $3000-$3100.
"Feeders also came back to smaller-weight cattle to background which indicates what it could be like down the track and even some of those feedlotters struggled to get what they wanted," Mr McCormack said.
Nethercote Trading, Flynn, also consigned a draft of 80 Angus/Simmental-cross steers and heifers, 12 months, which included 20 steers, 344kg, for $2220 or 645c/kg and 15 steers, 322kg, for $2180 or 677c/kg.
Elizabeth and Tony Landy, Walkerville, sold 85 Angus and Black Baldy steers, 10-11 months, including 21 steers, 316kg, for $2280 or 721c/kg and 20 steers, 324kg, for $2280 or 703c/kg.
Paul and Jenny O'Sullivan, Malabar Farms, Tarwin Lower, sold 40 Angus and Black Baldy steers, 12 months, including 20 steers, 350kg, for $2400 or 685c/kg and 20 steers, 32kg, for $2420 or 749c/kg.
Latrobe Park Angus, Morwell sold 21 steers, 399kg, for $2600 or 651c/kg, 24 steers, 372kg, for $2480 or 666c/kg and 15 steers, 337kg, for $2400 or 712c/kg.
RAJ Crooke, Longford, sold 42 Angus steers, 12 months, including 22 steers, 374kg, for $2340 or 623c/kg and 20 steers, 348kg, for $2200 or 632c/kg.
S & K Beckman, Won Wron, sold 14 steers, 286kg, for $1980 or 692c/kg and five steers, 205kg, for $1600 or 780c/kg.
Elders Leongatha and Korumburra livestock manager Rohan McRae said demand across all weights of cattle contributed to a very slight price rise.
"You don't think you would be able to keep saying it's dearer ... but I think it's dearer," he said.
"Especially on those well-bred cattle and the weaners because cattle with breeding were dearer.
"Feedlots are taking the heavier cattle and that's forcing most of the grass finishers back onto lighter cattle."
In other sales, Von Pace sold 10 Angus heifers, 10 months, 488kg, for $2530 or 518c/kg and 15 Angus heifers, 460kg, for $2480 or 535c/kg.
A pen of steers consigned by HP & ME Stollery, Mirboo North, started the market with 18 steers, 645kg, knocked down for $3140 or 486c/kg.
J MacLachlan, Longford, sold a draft of vendor-bred and trade steers including a pen of 22 vendor-bred steers, 534kg, for $3180 or 595c/kg and 21 steers, 475kg, for $3040 or 640c/kg.
DD & MT Blake, Perry Bridge, sold 10 steers, 723kg, for $3300 or 456c/kg.
C & J McMicking, Tarwin Lower, sold 13 steers, 613kg, for $3180 or 518c/kg.
A Conisbee & Co, Glengarry, sold 15 steers, 497kg, for $3000 or 603c/kg, 20 steers, 468kg, for $2880 or 615c/kg and 17 steers, 450kg, for $2800 or 622c/kg.
D & L Cameron, Bushy Park, sold 11 steers, 528kg, for $2800 or 530c/kg and 15 steers, 514kg, for $2900 or 564c/kg.
Alex Scott & Staff agent Dane Perczyk said some of the secondary and Friesian cattle were difficult to sell.
"They certainly lacked the competition they had a fortnight ago but the well-bred cattle sold exceptionally well," Mr Perczyk said.
"We had little 200kg steers that made close to $1800 and that shows there is certainly still confidence in the market and a demand for light cattle."
B & G Wallace sold 13 Angus heifers, 361kg, for $2230 or 617c/kg.
SJC Farms sold 10 heifers, 365kg, for $2200 or 602c/kg.
M Wight, Meeniyan, sold 12 Hereford steers, 585kg, for $2760 or 471c/kg.
LC & GL Anthony sold 18 steers, 460kg, for $2500 or 543c/kg.
Stackhouse Pastoral, Yarram, sold 20 steers, 500kg, for $2980 or 596c/kg.
Tullaree Pastoral, Buffalo, sold 20 steers, 300kg, for $2100 or 700c/kg.