Young cattle prices have gone from strength to strength during the past three weeks with lot feeders driving demand and restockers re-entering the market at some saleyards.
H Francis and Company livestock agent, Alex Croker said at Wagga Wagga there had been buyers from as far away as South Australia competing for feeder cattle.
"People are just not getting the weight in their cattle down there yet," Mr Croker said.
He said the demand meant 380 to 400 kilogram steers were selling for up to 340 cents a kilogram and heifers in the same weight category were making as much as 320c/kg.
He said restockers were also stepping back into the prime market.
"It's good to see their confidence because we haven't had that for a while," he said.
Opportunistic buyers were looking to heifers to find a bigger gap in the buy and sell prices.
"They can see the opportunity in them if the drought breaks," Mr Croker said.
Elders Wodonga agent, Matt Tinkler said further south there had been a sharp rise in yearling and weaner cattle heavier than 330kg.
"That's very much being pushed by the lot feeders," Mr Tinkler said.
"We've seen cattle making up to 360c/kg to 370c/kg and in places maybe a little more."
He said while the market for cattle close to 300kg had still been very strong, lighter cattle, less than 250kg, had been flatter.
"Traditionally you see those lighter cattle, in cents per kilo, make a lot more than their heavier brothers because of the dollar value but we're not seeing that at the moment," Mr Tinker said.
"That really is driven by a big area that still hasn't got the confidence going forward and probably some forecasts that aren't painting a lot of optimism as well."
Ray White Emms Mooney director, Ben Emms said producers were hesitant about buying lighter young cattle at the Carcoar saleyards as well.
"The Tablelands could either have a reasonable spring or fall away pretty severely," Mr Emms said.
He said the feeder cattle were a different story, with premium prices for good quality cattle, carrying weight.
"Good, decent lines of feeder cattle, both steers and heifers, have been attracting plenty of competition, because there's a good market going out the other end," Mr Emms said.
"Fat cattle are hard to find and generally the feeders are beating the killers on the bigger lines of cattle."
He said the best feeder, black steers at Carcoar were making up to 345c/kg and the best feeder heifers were tipping 310c/kg.
"It has all the hallmarks of a market that could get very dear if the season would go with it," Mr Emms said.