DROUGHT-HIT beef producers ensured there was solid numbers of cattle on offer at the Barnawartha saleyards on Thursday.
Cattle farmers are still being forced to make important decisions on stock numbers in the absence of substantial rains.
Bill Hotson, "Blue Springs", Chiltern sold 50 six-month old Angus heifers and said the drought was the worst he had seen for over three decades.
"From my point of view this drought is as bad as the 1982-83 drought," Mr Hotson said.
"The lack of pasture is equivalent to back then.
"I'm down to bare ground and all my stock is hand fed so that involves a lot of work.
"It's certainly tough conditions and I've been clearing out any stock that I didn't need in the future.
"These weaners are the last of those, and I've still kept the best of those for replacement heifers so I've still got similar numbers at home to previous years."
Prices overall were slightly lower but Mr Hotson was satisfied with what his weaners sold for.
"I was quite happy with the price," he said.
"I've been feeding out a lot of hay and the little steers I've got are doing well and I've kept all of those, so they will be good for later on.
"I'm about to buy some more hay because everything I had in storage is gone.
"I just have to buy some time into May or whenever it decides to rain.
"I've been clearing out unwanted stock now it's the autumn and happy with the prices I've been getting."
Despite the tough conditions, Mr Hotson said his weaners presented in good condition although lighter than previous years.
"Generally they are in good condition but there's no hiding from the fact that they are lighter than they normally would be.
"There's no doubt they would be over 30-kilograms lighter.
"The quality is generally pretty good.
"I weaned them in early January which is earlier than I normally would
"That allowed the cows to sustain pretty well and they will calve again around July/August."
The Independent agents started offering fortnightly sales from this month, a move Mr Hotson welcomed.
"It's a great move and this sale today suited me well," he said.
"A fortnight in this game can make a lot of difference and it's a big step forward."
A total of 2540 cattle went under the hammer.
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