A HUGE yarding of cattle failed to put a dampener on prices at last week's March store sale at the Western Victorian Livestock Exchange at Mortlake.
There were 5327 cattle yarded, with prices soaring to an incredible 750 cents a kilo for lighter steer calves.
Matt Baxter, Western Victoria Livestock Exchange agents association president, said one of the major talking points of the sale was the consistency.
"The grown steers sold really well at the start, but there were some great results towards the end with the lighter calves, the sale was going just as well towards the end as the first pen which is a great result for all the vendors," Mr Baxter said.
He said demand remained strong and varied.
"A large percentage of the stock headed north with a number of NSW and even Queensland buyers busy in the market," he said.
"Mort and Co, which runs feedlots in Queensland, were active buyers at the sale."
However, Victorian lot feeders were also active and provided strong competition.
Mr Baxter said the sale had been buoyed by timely rain through NSW.
"We had some rain beforehand and then just as the sale started there were reports of further good falls in inland NSW, so those buyers were keen."
While some have questioned whether current cattle values are sustainable, Mr Baxter said there was no reason for a correction in the short-term.
"The whole eastern seaboard has had a good 12 months and it now looks set up for a while yet in the north, we might see prices at this sort of price level or higher for some time yet."
Fellow Mortlake agent Bruce Redpath said the consistency of the sale was a credit to the vendors.
"The depth of the sale was excellent, there was good buying right the way through and that's why you saw people going as hard at the end of what was a long sale as at the start," Mr Redpath said.
He said the strength in the lighter cattle component of the market reflected buyers identifying opportunities to finish or restock.
"There may have been some priced out of the heavier steers and saw their chance later on in the sale," he said.
In terms of the breakdown, heavier steers weighing up to 450kg, made returns up to a top of 479c/kg.
Spring-drop young steers, weighing up to 250kg hit the top price per kilo hitting 750c/kg, with the majority trading in the 650-680c/kg range.
It was not just the boys that proved popular.
The heifer market was strong with fierce restocker competition.
Grown heifers weighing in excess of 420kg made between 420c/kg to 450c/kg, whereas the weaner heifers, up to 260kg, made up to 650c/kg.
Mr Baxter said buyers were on the hunt for well-bred females or cows and calves to restock.
In heavier steers the Swayn family topping the market for steers with $2085 on a per head basis, heifers made to $2088 for Brandon Pastoral while cows and calves made to $3500 for a pen of eight units of Speckle Park blood offered by the Kelly family.