Competition for South Gippsland cattle stepped up a notch on Friday with agents travelling as far as the Central Tablelands of NSW eager to purchase vendor-bred steers and heifers at Leongatha.
Bathurst-based Ray White Emms Mooney director Ben Emms bought a B-double load of feeder-weight cattle for several vendors.
He described the sale "every bit as dear" on the lighter cattle compared to the Carcoar, NSW, sale.
Agents moved the 2300-head sale a day later to Friday to ease pressure on the saleyard's operator by allowing an additional day between the prime and store markets.
Light steers 220 to 280 kilograms sold from 450 cents a kilogram, peaking at 528c/kg, while cattle 350-450kg sold for 380-420c/kg on average.
Heavier cattle 500kg and above sold for 330-340c/kg on average while a small yarding of 500 heifers sold to strong demand, pushing prices up to 355-390c/kg on average.
Mr Emms said a major attraction of the Leongatha market was the availability of a larger cattle compared to sales in NSW.
The highest price on a cents a kilogram basis was paid for a pen of Elm Valley, Tarwin Lower, steers which made at 528c/kg for a pen of 22 steers, 263kg, or $1390.
Elm Valley sold 182 eight-to-nine-month-old Angus steers which averaged 293kg, $1440 or 491c/kg.
Its dearest pen of 27 steers, 324kg, made $1510 or 466c/kg.
Selling agent Nutrien Leongatha branch manager Brian McCormack estimated Elm Valley's average was $400 dearer compared to last year's result.
P and D Fowles sold 44 two-year-old Angus steers including one of the highest prices per head for a pen of 30 steers which made $1970 or 337c/kg.
The Belcher family, Woodside, sold their annual draft of 70 steers including a top pen of 15 Angus steers, 429kg, which made $1650 or 384c/kg.
Their top pen of 17 Herefords, 395kg, made $1590 or 402c/kg.
Meanwhile, T and C Hulls, Leongatha, sold 72 Angus heifers to a top of $1540 for a pen of 15, 410kg, which made 375c/kg.
Their line of heifers averaged $1326 or 365c/kg.
Regular professional buyers Anthony Hullick and Campbell Ross were also active during the sale filling a handful of orders for feedlots and backgrounders, agents said.
Cattle which were vendor-bred, grass-fed and antibiotic free attracted a premium of as much as 25 cents more a kilogram.
SEJ Livestock Leongatha auctioneer James Kyle said cattle sold better than expected.
"There was a lot of angst in the sale about how it may or may not go given it was our first Friday sale during COVID-19 but I don't think anyone would complain with the results," Mr Kyle said.
Elders Korumburra and Leongatha branch manager Rohan McRae said the sale was fully firm on the previous April sale.
"It held up exceptionally well and the prices have continued to remain rock solid despite what's going on in the world," Mr McRae said.
G Jones sold 18 Hereford steers, 525kg, for $1840 or 350c/kg.
Manuka Park sold 12 Angus Hereford-cross steers, 453kg, for $1650 or 364c/kg.
J Dean sold 20 Hereford steers, 384kg, for $1540 or 460c/kg.
G Gregory sold 25 Angus and Angus-cross steers including 12, 532kg, for $1930 or 362c/kg.
J and D Vickers sold 14 Hereford, 483kg, for $1710 or 354c/kg.
A and B Buckland sold 11 Charolais-cross steers, 486kg, for $1800 or 370c/kg.
Westella Park sold 11 Angus 15-month-old steers, 376kg, for $1530 or 407c/kg.
D Johnson sold 20 Angus steers, 450kg, for $1720 or 382c/kg.
L Osbourne sold 12 Angus steers, 455kg, for $1710 or 376c/kg.
In the females, S and B McLaren sold 13 Angus heifers, 463kg, for $1780 or 384c/kg.
Blackwood Grazing sold 12 Angus heifers, 462kg, for $1790 or 387c/kg.
Dixon and Lee sold 17 Angus heifers, 357kg, for $1410 or 384c/kg.
N and K Hansford sold 10 Hereford heifers, 387kg, for $1520 or 392c/kg.
P George sold 14 Angus-cross heifers, 445kg, for $1690 or 379c/kg.
C Hemple sold nine Angus-cross heifers, 402kg, for $1420 or 353c/kg.
G Jones sold 16 Hereford heifers, 377kg, for $1320 or 373c/kg.
R Wight & Son sold 14 Hereford heifers, 365kg, for $1270 or 347c/kg.
Have you signed up to Stock & Land's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to Victorian agriculture.