Store cattle prices at Euroa took a strong and healthy lift last Wednesday as regional restockers and lot feeders prepared for an inevitable tumble in supply.
The market, according to participating agents, was conservatively $50-$100 a head dearer, and in some places, $150 better than the north-east centre's month-earlier sale.
The agents said local breeders had begun to bail-out of cattle normally held and sold through the winter.
"The absence of feed in paddocks is alarming," Russell Mawson, Landmark, said.
"And the weather will begin to get cold soon.
"It doesn't matter where you drive this side (north) of Melbourne, the paddocks are as bare as bare and hay is getting even more expensive."
"Fortunately, for those selling, there were people, with a season that want cattle and they are keen to buy.
"These would include local restockers from the Wangaratta/Benalla/Myrtleford area and further afield at Ballarat, while the lot feeders have dropped their weights to secure numbers and in fear of missing."
Joe Allen, Elders, agreed, saying this month's Euroa yarding approached 1000 head.
There was a reasonable selection of 10 or 12 pens of grown steers 350 kilograms up, that made 300-325 cents a kilogram, and was 30c/kg dearer, while weaner steers, 250-300kg, made 310-330c/kg, which was 30-40c/kg stronger.
Mr Allen said smaller weaners, those weighed at less than 250kg, met an erratic demand, whereby well-bred lots, in larger lines, sold strongly up to 340c/kg, which was 30-40c/kg stronger, but the smaller mixed lots and plain quality were difficult to shift at about the 250-260c/kg mark.
Sales of unjoined heifers were not overly supplied.
Mr Allen said heifers were sold ranged from 230-260c/kg, which was also 25c/kg stronger.
A sale comprising three yards of Willabah Angus heifers, second-calvers, PTIC, met good interest to sell from $1000-$1170.
Despite the locally dry conditions, Mr Allen said there was good interest shown for these as these and other cows and calves, which for the first time in many months exceeded split value and the current and improved slaughter rates.
Cows and calves made to $1420 in this sale compared to similar outfits last month that struggled to make $1200.