NEW England is still shedding stock and while there are some instances of southern NSW farmers with crop to graze buying yearling heifers from the north, many are headed for feedlots.
Chris Paterson Livestock principal Chris Paterson, Tamworth, said there had been good runs of yearling heifers through Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange in the past few weeks, making as much as 290 cents a kilogram.
The majority of these had gone to feedlots, though the top end was being killed, he said.
The trend of the past two years of offloading stock meant there had probably been a lot of females slaughtered that shouldn't have been, but with conditions so tough it was to be expected, he said.
Mr Paterson said rebuilding the national herd was going to be very tough when rain did come because heifers would be very dear and there wouldn't be many around.
I don't think there's a lot of people looking over the fence thinking 'I want to get into the cattle market'.
Riverina Livestock Agents' Tim Drum, Wagga Wagga, said yearling heifers were generally making 310c/kg to 320c/kg, but heavier heifers, about 450kg, sold on Monday sold to 337c/kg through Wagga saleyards.
He said he wasn't surprised numbers were up at Tamworth because people had fed all last year and weren't prepared, or weren't able, to do it again.
Mr Drum said while it was hard to get a clear picture from Wagga Wagga because the saleyard's catchment was so large - ranging from the Monaro to Hay - he didn't expect female numbers to be there when things came good.
He said a lot heifers were heading for feedlots and he didn't think there were a lot of people looking over the fence thinking "I want to get into the cattle market".
At Dubbo saleyards, which largely feeds off western regions, P.T. Lord, Dakin and Associates principal Paul Dakin said most yearling heifers had either passed through the yards earlier in the season or were being held onto as producers switched into survival mode.
"A lot of stock went through when winter didn't arrive," Mr Dakin said.
"There's a lot of cows and calves coming up in the next fortnight and you'll find if producers are holding onto anything, they'll be likely to keep yearling heifers.
"But then everybody has their own methodology and one size doesn't fit all."