VETERAN cattleman Brian Unthank says he still gets a buzz from attending the Wodonga annual weaner sales, now held at the NVLX facility at Barnawartha North.
“I feel like an old racehorse,” he said at the first day of the sales on Thursday.
“I get stirred up, I know I’m not going to win but I just want to be in the race.”
Mr Unthank started his career in Wodonga in 1958 before retiring to concentrate on his family’s real estate business in 1990.
“I started the weaner sales in 1970 when there were no annual sales … and it has grown from there,” he said.
“To have 9000 head sold over two days must make it the biggest yarding on the east coast.
“There will always be criticisms but I wish I had sold cattle at a facility as impressive as this.”
And there was certainly a buzz around the yards, which were packed.
As most observers agreed, the prices ranged from very firm to sensational.
Richard McClymont travelled from Goondiwindi, with his son Lachie, buying 108 head through agent Peter Daniel of GDL in Dalby.
“I’m always happy to travel to buy quality cattle and that is what we bought today,” he said.
“We’ve had a good season so it’s a good time to restock.
“The prices have been massive.”
But it was a “local” who stole the show.
Bill Dudley, from Deniliquin, brought 37 head to the sales, with 27 heifers selling for $1400 per head.
He later won the bonus $500 donated by Regional Livestock Exchange for the best pen of heifers.
“You’d have to be happy with the prices I got today,” he said.
“This is my first time at these yards and I have to say that, as a vendor, the soft flooring and undercover facility helps to present my cattle well and it is obvious that the buyers have certainly turned out in force.”
Mr Dudley's agent Justin Barker, from Rodwells Deniliquin, was delighted with the result his client achieved.
"These prices are excellent, the best I've seen," he said.
"This is an excellent facility, easy on both people and cattle.”
But not everybody was there to buy and sell, such as retired banker Arthur Warrell who travelled down from Wagga.
“I’ve been to a few saleyards but I have to say this is very impressive,” he said.
There were plenty of happy faces at the facility after the sale, as prices were $300-$400 up on last year’s sales.