Tight supply and strong northern demand bolstered competition among restockers and feedlots at Wodonga on Thursday for day four of the Victorian weaner sale series.
Prices for weaner cattle passed 550 cents a kilogram less than 30 minutes into the sale where NSW restockers competed against their Victorian counterparts for pens of vendor-bred calves.
Agents yarded 1344 Hereford, Shorthorn and Euro-cross cattle, 1000 head down compared to the same sale last year.
The smaller yarding was partially attributed to vendors retaining their heifer portions for breeding on the back of buoyant seasonal conditions.
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Weaner cattle sold to a top of $1980 with a consignment of AH Turnbull steers, 448kg, making 441c/kg at the start of the Euro run.
The same vendor, from Tallangatta South, sold a second pen of 17 steers, 417kg, for $1870 or 448c/kg.
The sale grossed $2,366,685 with eight per cent of the yarding or 114 head bought by clients online from Victoria and NSW.
Elders Wangaratta and Albury territory sales manager Oliver Mason said the market was on par with the 3000-head weaner sale at Wangaratta a day earlier.
"The north was stronger today on some of those cattle and it's hard to know why but perhaps they had specific orders for Hereford calves," Mr Mason said.
"There are so many empty paddocks north of us that have had that decline in numbers in the last several years and this was one opportunity to jump back in and put together numbers."
Mr Mason said the sale lacked the lines of cattle recent weaner markets in the north-east had featured.
"A lot of our consignments were steer only and that's due to the fact people are retaining their heifers," Mr Mason said.
"The weaner drafts of calves sold from 470 to 480c/kg at 400 kilos and then anything around 350kg sold for well above 500c/kg."
The sale started with a feature draft of horned yearling-off Hereford steers, consigned by McKoy & Son Pastoral, Ohio, Holbrook, NSW.
The draft included 111 steers, 16-17 months and 20-22 months, which sold to a top of $2160 or 427c/kg.
"Most times those cattle are targeted towards bullock fatteners in the Upper Murray and Gippsland areas but all of those cattle went into NSW feedlots this year," Mr Mason said.
PJ & RJ Cardwell, Dederang, was awarded the best pen of Charolais steers for consignment of 12, 432kg, which made $1870 or 432c/kg.
Kohlhagen Family Pastoral Co Pty Ltd, Walla Walla, NSW, sold a pen of 11 heifers, 391kg, for $1820 or 465c/kg which was subsequently named the best presented female pen.
Granite Flat Pastoral, Mita Mita, sold a draft of European Union-accredited steers including a pen of 22, 412kg, which made $1880 or 456c/kg. The pen was named the best presented steer pen.
The same vendor also sold 15 steers, 365kg, for $1780 or 487c/kg seven steers, 366kg, for $1720 or 469c/kg.
Cecily M Trickett, Morven, NSW, sold one of the dearest pens of steers on a cents a kilogram basis with a pen of 20 Herefords, 256kg, fetching $1560 or 609c/kg.
The same vendor also sold 25 steers, 345kg, for $1785 or 517c/kg.
Sleigh Pastoral, Bayunga, Ruffy, sold 14 Hereford steers, 391kg, for $1845 or 471c/kg and 43 Hereford steers, 344kg, for $1815 or 527c/kg.
JM Hiscock & Sons, Kilmore, sold 13 Hereford steers, 362kg, for $1810 or 500c/kg, 30 Hereford steers, 318kg, for $1765 or 555c/kg and 13 steers, 291kg, for $1635 or 561c/kg.
Paull & Scollard Nutrien Wodonga livestock agent Sam Gordon said recent rain in northern NSW had given buyers from areas such as Tamworth additional confidence.
"We had some buyers down on the rail that were after heifers for replacements after they were forced to get rid of their breeding stock in the drought," Mr Gordon said.
"We saw a huge clash between restockers buying for their own breeding operations and feeders which were exceptionally strong."
Mr Gordon said the sale was dearer in places compared to the black sales earlier in the week.
"We put that down to restockers chasing good lines with extra softness and docility because most of the calves we had were very quiet," he said.
DD & VL McCallum, Tooma, NSW, sold 15 Hereford steers, 527kg, for $2160 or 409c/kg.
AL & KM Heinecke, Tumbarumba, NSW, sold 26 Hereford steers, 468kg, for $2000 or 427c/kg.
B & B Bourke, Kiewa, 12 steers, 459kg, for $1930 or 420c/kg.
Harvest Herefords, Yallara South, Holbrook, NSW, sold 12 steers, 459kg, for $1950 or 424c/kg.
RI & NW Peake, Chiltern Valley, sold nine steers, 485kg, for $2150 or 443c/kg.
MM & AM Goonan, Mudgegonga, sold 22 Hereford steers, 384kg, for $1845 or 480c/kg.
BW Prichard, Tallangatta Valley, sold 15 steers, 347kg, for $1740 or 501c/kg.
S Morant, Belverdere, Tallangatta Valley, sold 34 heifers, 348kg, for $1750 or 502c/kg.
B & B Bourke, Kiewa, sold 11 heifers, 379kg, for $1680 or 443c/kg.
Aroona Grazing, Warrenbayne, sold 14 heifers, 344kg, for $1620 or 470c/kg and 18, 298kg, for $1520 or 510c/kg.
NR McKenzie & Son, Avalon, Coreen, NSW, sold 12 heifers, 301kg, for $1540 or 511c/kg.
Cecily M Trickett, Morven, NSW, sold 15 heifers, 319kg, for $1510 or 492c/kg and 14 heifers, 273kg, for $1405 or 514c/kg.
Sleigh Pastoral, Bayunga, Ruffy, sold 12 heifers, 282kg, for $1450 or 514c/kg.