It's a frustrating time for seedstock producers who would be enjoying buoyant bull demand and high prices if the drought had broken last autumn.
They are getting a glimpse of what might have been across the ditch in New Zealand where this winter's bull sales have been firing, headlined by the $NZ86,000 sale topper at Tangihau Angus stud's annual sale near Gisborne on June 24.
NZ's hot bull market was an indication of what was going to happen in Australia with the return of good seasons, according to Ben Mayne from Texas Angus stud in northern NSW.
The longer the record cow kill in eastern Australia continued, the more extreme levels female cattle prices would reach once the drought broke, he said.
"No matter which direction you go in, there is bugger all cows. This will be something we have never ever seen in Australia before (when the drought breaks)."
And restockers could find themselves in a battle with processors for scarce cows because of the strength of demand for Australian beef, including manufacturing grade.
Mr Mayne was expecting many commercial breeders - those who still had cows - would be looking to upgrade the quality of their bulls if bargain opportunities arose at this year's winter and spring sales.
Stud stock auctioneer, Paul Dooley, Tamworth, NSW, said the tough season would provide some good value for bull buyers at upcoming sales.
The four or five years leading up to the current drought had been the best in his 30 years selling bulls in terms of the numbers sold and the average prices.
New figures released by the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association (ARCBA) show stud principals responded to those great selling years by increasing animal registrations by 4.5pc in 2018.
Leading southern Queensland studmaster, David Bondfield, Palgrove stud, Dalveen, said one upside of the drought was that both studs and commercial breeders could more easily identify poor performing cattle.
"This enables us to refocus on those cattle that are delivering efficient weight gains and maintaining fertility in challenging conditions."
Mr Bondfield said his clients were buying less bulls to cover reduced cow numbers but weren't compromising on quality by investing in genetics that would deliver value in the longer term.
Lucinda and Bryan Corrigan, Rennylea Angus, Holbrook, NSW, said their commercial clients were heavily committed to improving the meat quality of their herds.
And even if some customers cut back on the number of bulls they purchased, they would still source bulls that would keep taking their breeding programs in the right direction, they said.