Selling centre records were broken at the 35th Elders Yea Annual Blue Ribbon Weaner Sale as the centre set the highest weaner prices "by a canter".
The trifecta of factors including outstanding seasonal conditions, low supply and high demand hit fever pitch today, with the 4060-head yarding grossing more than $9.4 million.
Heavy Angus steers peaked at $2890, more than $200 a head more than competing weaner sales this week, paid by Nutrien Delaney Livestock's Anthony Delaney for 22 Angus steers, 446kg, offered by Box Hill Pastoral Company's Michael and Sue Spagnolo, Yea.
The Spagnolo's sold 188 weaners in total, with a pen of 50, av 382kg, sold to $2790, or 730c/kg, and the entire 128-head of steers av $2675, or 684c/kg - $600/head up on last year's results.
Like 98 per cent of the yarding, the Box Hill Pastoral calves were consciously yard weaned for more than a month and supplement fed silage.
"We looked after the calves better through weaning because everything dried off so quickly," Mr Spagnolo said.
Hot on their heals was the offering of siblings Lee and Renee Drysdale, and dad John Drysdale, of The Lily's Pastoral, Yarck, who offered 289 Angus weaners, including 220 steers that av $2530, or 721c/kg.
The Drysdale's female draft of 69 peaked at $2670, or 720c/kg, and av $2333, or 730c/kg.
Elders Yea auctioneer Jamie Quinlan said it was an "enormous sale", setting a new sales record for weaners sold at the centre.
The first run of Angus steers, 370-440kg, sold from $2600 to $2800, while heavy 440kg Charolais steers fetched $2550 before prices tailed off.
Herefords were keenly sought with most prices falling from $2450-$2500, and settling at 700c/kg for lighter weaners, while two lanes of 260-330kg Angus steers steadied from 750-850c/kg.
Armstrong Evergreen, Island Bend, Yea, sold 122 Hereford steers, March/April drop, Yavenvale and Tarcombe blood, to a top price of $2430, with a draft av of $2256, or 664c/kg. In their female offering, the 65 heifers av $2050, or 693c/kg.
"The highlight of the day was the joinable heifers," Mr Quinlan said.
"I've never seen a heifer sale like it ever - it was unbelievable."
"There was enormous breeder support with people buying them to join, join and sell, join into herds.
The top price for heifers was $2840, or 728c/kg, paid to SJ & GK Clifton for 23 Angus av 390kg, to Alex Scott & Staff, Pakenham.
"Coloured heifers were a little tougher to sell - black baldies, greys and Charolais were a bit tougher and back to the mid 500c/kg," he said.
"On on the black heifers, you needed $2000 to buy the smallest black heifer and a hell of a lot made from $2200-$2300."
Another notable line of heifers were from Villa Brae Pastoral Company, Ruffy, which offered 88-heifers to a draft high of $2790, and av of $2505, or 743c/kg.
Villa Brae's draft of steers fetched the same returns as their female paddock mates, with the 84-head peaking at $2710, for an av of $2502, or 686c/kg.
Villa Brae manager Trevor Sargeant said the prices were "a long time coming".
"My gut says prices should stay here for the next three years because our global cattle herd is low," he said.
"The world needs more meat so we need to grow more beef. We are seeing feedlots put pressure on our breeding numbers which is compounding the need for more cattle."
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Elders Riverina livestock manager Matt Tinkler was hoping to fill two significant orders for northern restockers, however strong prices made it difficult.
"We had two northern orders, one was for EU accredited, 350-400kg, and we were anticipating to pay 640-680c/kg but we were blown out of the with those prices," Mr Tinkler said.
"Our limit was $2600 so I bought one load but I was hoping to get two.
"That job was $150-$200 dearer than other locations we have seen this week."
Mr Tinkler said he failed to secure purchasers for a northern backgrounder chasing Angus steers, 330-370kg, with "significantly less money than what was needed today".
He was able to purchase 300 head, including 29 Charolais steers, av 410kg, for $2590, from GJ & HM Hauser and P & V Hauser, on behalf of a local backgrounder, as well as 100 Hereford steers bound for northern NSW, from $2270-$2430, or 655c/kg.
Mr Tinkler said the northern orders were underpinning the power in the southern weaner sales.
"Some of the northern orders that were here earlier in the week have standing orders remaining," he said.
"We had orders to buy cattle here today and we haven't been able to secure the cattle."
Mortlake's massive yarding was no deterrent on buying interest at Yea he said, with Yea's high weaning rate known for calm calves and quality lines of breeding cattle a magnet for buyers.
"It is a quality lineup - you are buying outstanding cattle with a lot of confidence and you can see that flow on in the sale," he said.
Despite market factors supporting the record high prices, Mr Tinkler said some clients were uncertain about the sustainability of prices.
"The situation is that there is a lot of grass and the reality is if you're not in the market trying to buy cattle now, I don't know where you will find cattle with weight for a little while.
"It's a supply and demand issue and we have seen the price go to a level that has been justified because of the rates people are selling heavy cattle in the last four months.
"There is an uncertainty about what that next trade looks and we won't know where that is until mid-winter or early spring."