Good pasture growth through winter and spring has put the cattle in Victoria's north-east in good stead, despite it having now dried off.
Euroa kicked things off for sales in the region in the first week of December, offering about 2500 true weaners, and prices for steers were sitting at the 300to 330 cents a kilogram mark.
A mixed quality store sale at Wodonga with a large tail end was only just making to 300c/kg for the top weaner steers, however this is likely little reflection on what the feature lines will demand in the new year.
Daniel Fischer, Landmark, Wangaratta, said the past couple of sales saw steers right through commanding anywhere from 300 to 330c/kg depending on line and quality. And he thinks the weaner calves were going to present heavier than previous years on average in the region.
"Season-wise came out of winter with as much feed as ever seen and the spring growth was outstanding, but it did dry off four to five weeks earlier than what we consider a normal season in this area," he said. "So while there is a bulk of feed and cattle are looking fantastic, it is bone dry at the moment and will continue to be so until the autumn break."
Mr Fischer said the live export job would put a floor in the sale in the early January sales, and hopefully some summer rain would come for Queensland and northern NSW and encourage their support at the later sales.
"Naracoorte sale was off the planet (topping at 463c/kg on December 5) and Euroa was solid without being anything extreme and I think that is going to be consistent with the sales moving forward," he said. "The northern sales where it is drying off will be dependent on locals and southerners, but those sales in the south have plenty of feed around them and will get the locals, and not having transport costs means they can afford to pay a bit more money down there."
We are going to look back in six months' time to say weaners were very good buying
Mr Fischer said the quality of weaners would be outstanding at northern sales, with plenty of bloom.
"We all keep considering the fact that the market is going to go to an incredible level next year, and regardless of what people pay we are going to look back in six months' time to say weaners were very good buying," he said. "It is about having the ability to get into the market now, and with plenty of fodder about there is the opportunity to tuck them away."