THE snap Victoria-NSW border closure failed to dampen a bumper opening day of the feature Wodonga weaner sales at the Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange on Tuesday.
More than 60 per cent of the 1800-plus head yarded by Elders Albury and Paull & Scollard Nutrien are headed for either central or northern NSW or further afield to southern Queensland.
Buyers at the sale or accessing the StockLive online platform pounced on the Angus weaners on offer with steers topping $1980 per head, and heifers hitting the $1730 mark.
The top priced steers belonged to P. and A. Caponecchia from Bobinawarrah and AM Wallace from Porepunkah and weighed 469kg and 460kg respectively.
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The overall best-presented pen numbering 29 steers and belonging to Three Rivers Angus, Kancoona, sold for $1790 per head after hitting the scales at 404kg.
Best presented pen of steers were bred by Mitchell Pastoral at Bethanga and sold for $1915 per head with an average weight of 364kg and best presented of heifers were sold by Rylin Pty Ltd, Bobinawarrah for $1720 per head and also tipped the scales at 364kg.
Mitchell Pastoral also sold a pen of 20 heifers for $1905 per head with an average weight of 367kg or 519c/kg.
Peter Boyd, who farms in the Myrtleford and Bobinawarrah areas, was thrilled with his return which included $1820 per head for his top 23 steers weighing an average 415kg with a second run of 39 steers weighing 372kg making $1760 per head.
"I wasn't expecting that much and they are definitely up on last year," he said.
"It has been a perfect year.
"It is not real hot, we had a terrific winter, fantastic spring. We can't complain at all."
Elders Albury agent Brett Shea said the hot competition from the north showed how determined buyers were prepared to overcome the border closure.
"We knew with the amount of rain they've had in those parts in the last month or so and the fact they've experienced some horrendous conditions in the previous three or four years there is a real lack of numbers.
"They are heading into their growing season and they need numbers."
A pen of 18 grown steers weighing 476kg and belonging to Burrumbuttock's Greg Tallent sold before the weaner pens for $2170 per head.
"We bought those cattle just over 12 months ago and they fattened up really well over the winter," he said.
"I would have been happy if we got around the $1800 mark..
"It is the biggest price I've ever got for cattle so things are really, really strong at the moment."
Another pen of 19 grown steers weighing 466kg belonging to Boggy Creek Farm were sold for $2150 per head.
"With the season we've had the calves are 20, 30, 40 kilo heavier than they were last year," Paull & Scollard Nutrien agent Luke Deimal said.
"There was barely a pen of steers under 300 kilos and similar with the heifers.
"You could comfortably say the cattle have made 20 to 30 cents a kilo more than what we were expecting a month ago."
The StockLive online platform had 233 viewers logged on including 34 buyers who purchased 467 head for a total of $755,000.