THE consistency of prices stunned vendors at the Euroa Angus weaner steer today where prices hit a high of $2620.
Nearly 100 pens were sold under the hammer before prices dipped below $2300/head, with vendors commentating on the marginal difference between first and third drafts of cattle.
Nutrien Ag Solutions auctioneer Daniel Fischer said feedlotters and bullock fatteners went head-to-head to secure the heavier lines of cattle, with Rangers Valley, Euroa, Yea's Elders and Nutrien Ag Solutions, and Gippsland finishers, active on the opening lane.
"There were a few restockers who entered in the middle lanes, 310-350kg, and then sales were dominated by the north once we got to the lighter calves," Mr Fischer said.
The opening yard of the sale was offered by Marg King, Wellwood, for steers which averaged 427 kilograms, that hit $2600, or 608 cents a kilogram.
The sale's top price honour of $2620 was knocked down to vendor Wirrani, Creightons Creek, for 19 March/April drop calves, 403kg, that equated to 650c/kg.
"Most vendors would be licking their lips to get their calves in as soon as possible," Mr Fischer said.
"Once it dries up in the north, I can't see why it wouldn't continue at these rates.
"I don't think anyone wants it to get dearer but if it maintains this momentum I think most people would be happy."
Sue Gall and Richard McGeehan, Flowerdale, Euroa, sold 80 Angus steers, by Newnham Angus bulls, 9-10 months old, which sold to a top price of $2460, and av $2497.
The steers topped at 388kg, and av 356kg, which equaled 701c/kg.
Mr McGeehan said it was astounding the evenness of prices from the opening pens to the third lane of cattle, where prices stabilised at $2350-$2450/hd.
"These prices are unbelievable - everyone needs to be happy," he said.
"All the ducks have lined - prices, season, water - so we are enjoying it while we can."
John and Mary Kelly, Kellybrook at Moglonemby, were enjoying the flush prices after "punting" on cattle 18 months ago that have paid dividends.
The Kellys sold 30 steers, at 329kg, to $2430, or 738c/kg, out of an opportunistic buy of pregnancy tested in calf cows last autumn, which had since returned two calves on their investment, and were about to re-enter the market at Euroa's female sale next week.
"It looked dear when we paid $3000 for them in Autumn, " Mr Kelly said.
In 1974, the Kellys sold cattle at the Newmarket Salyards in Melbourne for $30 a head, because "you couldn't give them away".
Another market crash in 2006-2007 meant the Kellys had to euthanise their top heifers which were artificially inseminated in calf to leading genetics.
"So it feels like these prices now are a bit of payback after those hards times," he said.
There was a $330 difference between the heaviest steers (306kg) and the lightest weaners (241kg) of the 143 steers Allanvale, Avenel, offered for sale.
The entire Allanvale steers av 280kg, topped at $2350 for a draft average of $2223, or 794c/kg.
"It has been a good year so we have a great even line of steers, which makes it easy to sell," Mr Lawson said.
"Today's result complements exciting things happening at Allenvale, which we will share in the new year."
Andrew Hansen, farm manager Paul Geeson and Lloyd Bett sold 150 steers to a top weight of 364kg, which sold to $2450, for an overall draft average of 742c/kg.
Mr Hansen attributed the consistency of the steers, which averaged 330kg, to a "harsh" selection criteria, with the Hansen herd based on Merridale and artificial insemination to American bloodlines.
Albury commission buyer Duncan Brown said he was fielding calls from northern NSW restockers who were anticipating acquisitions once the region had dried after relentless rain last month.
Nonetheless, Mr Brown still acquired just shy of 200 head of lighter steers, 310-370kg, bound for Coonamble, NSW.
He had clients with bullocks bound for processing last week who were unable to get the trucks onto the properties for receival.
"A lot of NSW is still to wet to get in anywhere," he said.
"As soon as (NSW) dries out a bit, they'll be looking to Victoria because there is nowhere else to go. As much as they don't like the weights, there is nowhere else to go."
- Kyneton autumn-drop calves sell to 710c/kg
- Warrnambool open auction steers to 869c/kg at monthly market
Peter Collins, Tallygaroopna, purchased 30 Angus steers, av 349kg, to $2400/hd, through his agent, Mokoan Livestock Agency managing director Darren Askew, whose consignment of 330-363kg steers av $2400.
"Because of their weights and because of the prices, they will be destined to bullocks," Mr Askew said.
"With this sort of money, unless the call of the feedlot price comes up a fair bit there wouldn't be enough in it.
"Are prices sustainable? Every time we have had these sales we have said they are too dear, and every time we have bought them we have made money.
"But where that top is, I don't think anyone knows."
Also on the buying side of the gallery were Dev and Thaya Carman, Wyreema, Berringama, who were restocking after preparing to offload bullocks next week. They had sold a mob of steers at 870c/kg dressed, bound for slaughter next week, and traded a feedlot-bound mod of steers at 620c/kg this week. Today, the Carman's replenished their herd with 94 head of Angus steers, av 330kg, to $2400.
They said they were "Still coming to terms with the prices".
"But if you don't buy cattle then you don't have cattle so you just have to meet the market," Mrs Carman said.