The chance to secure big licks of quality Angus steer weaners drove prices to a top of 344 cents a kilogram at day one of the western district weaner sales at Hamilton.
Independent agents yarded 2617 steers with an average weight of 346kg, just shy of the 2019 sale that came in at an average of 348kg.
A premium of 20c/kg to as much as 30c/kg for European Union-qualified cattle saw the sale average eclipse the 2019 figure by 12c/kg and $40 a head average.
Zac Van Wegen, Kerr and Co, Hamilton, said the quality of the yarding was exceptional particularly given the late autumn break and tough winter.
Northern support added to orders from processors and feedlotters as well as Gippsland, western district and south-east South Australian buyers.
The EU calves weighing 390kg-plus made 330-344c/kg, dropping back to 308-325c/kg for non-EU cattle.
Cattle in the 350-390kg class were solid at around 320-335c/kg, with demand from feedlotters, backgrounders and export orders.
Topping the sale both per kilogram and total price was the premium pen sold by Coffee Partnership.
The 25 steers, 427kg, sold for 344c/kg or $1469.
Their second line of 43 at 398kg sold for 341c/kg or $1360, and a third line of 16 at 363kg, made 324c/kg or $1178.
A pen of 28 EU-accredited steers sold by Cadell, 408kg, sold for 342c/kg or $1404, and 23, 375kg, sold for 332c/kg or $1247, and a third line of 23, 365kg, made 332c/kg or $1213.
Winninburn sold 21 steers, 402kg, for 342c/kg or $1376 and a further line of 32 at 347kg for 332c/kg or $1154.
EJ Cameron's line of steers topped at 341c/kg for a pen of 23, weighing 397kg, coming in at $1355.
The vendor also sold 22 at 349kg for 328c/kg or $1147 and 21 Black Baldy steers, 394kg, for 321c/kg or $1264.
Camp Creek kicked off the sale with a pen of 28, 415kg, that sold for 341c/kg or $1416.
A second draft of 75 weighing 377kg sold for 340c/kg, or $1284 and 51 light steers at 332kg made 328c/kg or $1091.
Mountview offered a consignment that included 29 steers, 401kg, that made 343c/kg or $1375 and 33 at 332c/kg or $1247.
IS & HJ Brown sold 30 steers, 410kg, for 343c/kg or $1408, and 22 at 365kg for 337c/kg or $1230, while 31 steers sold by Mills, 362kg, made 339c/kg, or $1229.
Athlone South sold 228 steers in three lines with a top price of 332c/kg, or $1187 for 100 weighing 357kg.
A line of 86, 317kg, made 322c/kg, or $1021, and 42, 392kg, made 316c/kg or $1240.
Mount Napier's offering included 90 at 360kg, for 334c/kg, or $1203.
The story Hamilton weaners to 344c/kg to start week with a sizzle first appeared on Stock & Land.