Victorian stud principals are primed with confidence ahead of the bull-selling season with the first on-property auction set to take place this Friday.
More than 15 bull sales will take place in Victoria before the end of the month, with some of the best-performing studs of 2023 gearing up for their biggest day of the year.
An additional 20-plus bull sales will take place across the state in March from Ensay in East Gippsland to Ruffy in the Strathbogies and everywhere in between.
Banquet Angus stud principal Stephen Branson, Mortlake, said the cattle sector was generally optimistic after a "disastrous" plummet in beef prices in October.
"We've seen an incredible turn around in the season and just in the last few days we've had another bout of significant rainfall fall through NSW," Mr Branson said.
"We're certainly not expecting anything like the results of the last couple of years, but it should be solid."
The western district stud recorded the highest sale average across Victoria of $16,948 in February last year, and Mr Branson said the stud would offer 104 mainly 18-month-old bulls again on February 29.
"The demand will still be there for the number of bulls because producers in the south haven't been forced to destock which means there's still the same number of cow numbers in southern Australia," he said.
"Northern NSW and Queensland certainly experienced a contraction in cattle numbers, so what those farmers do will be anyone's guess, but in southern NSW and Victoria, we'll see similar demand."
Elders Victoria and Riverina stud stock manager Ross Milne said the outlook was "pretty positive" ahead of the first sale on February 9.
"There is a lot of confidence in the beef industry as a result of the recent increase in cattle prices," he said.
"I don't think there's going to be a hell of a lot of difference between the 2023 and 2024 results and in terms of the number of bulls offered, we expect those figures to be fairly similar to last year too."
The bull selling season will start at Willaura with Mount William Charolais set to offer 40 bulls at its 25th on-property sale this Friday.
"The cattle look fantastic and the season has helped that," Mount William Charolais stud principal Rob Abbott said.
"The genetics in these cattle go back 50 years... so we hope we'll get the support on sale day from our return buyers.
"Hybrid vigor is a big benefit to the cattle industry and you can't go past our pulls as terminal sires."
Gippsland grazier and Newcomen Herefords stud principal Barry Newcomen, Ensay, said the annual Mountain Calf Sales in the first week of March were usually a good indication of how the bull sales would go.
"The store sale job seems to be on the way up and we've had widespread rain here at Ensay," he said.
"We've just had the greenest January I've ever seen and if the store cattle job is OK, I think the bull sale job will be quite OK too."