Recent rainfall in the New England region saw prices for lightweight cattle jump by $60 to $100 per head in Tamworth on Friday with agents predicting it could be the start of a market hike if future forecasts come to fruition.
With much of the 630 head offering drawn from local producers and noticeably lighter due to prevailing dry conditions, those restockers that had been under recent storms wasted no time in securing animals from the first Tamworth store sale of 2020.
Both local and western competition saw cattle bound for areas including Coonamble and Dubbo with agents estimating about 30 to 40 per cent of the weaners were secured by New England buyers.
Quality Angus cross heifers on account of Mt View Agriculture at Bendemeer and sold through Nutrien Livestock Tamworth topped the sale at $735/head while the best of the steers made $730/hd. They were part of a large run of cattle from the vendor that were offloaded at a lighter weight than normal due to drought.
Nutrien Livestock Tamworth's Joel Fleming said the market had opened a lot dearer than where it was last year.
"It actually exceeded both vendor and agent expectation on the lighter cattle from $60 to $100/head," he said.
"I think the recent rain, especially through the New England, and the 28 day forecast looking as promising as it has for 12 months and the storms that have been about has just given people a slight bit of confidence."
If the area did receive a few decent rainfall events, Mr Fleming predicted the cattle secured today, although on a dearer market, would look cheap.
"If there is rain on the horizon it (the market) will stay firm," he said.
"If we actually receive rain I think it it will jump dramatically, overnight."
Among the buyers on the day were Ben and Emma Rossiter, Carinya, Loomberah, who secured 21 Speckle Park Heifers for between $340 and $450 a head.
Ms Rossiter, who works at the saleyards, is in the process of changing their Angus-based herd to Speckle Park after moving to the area two years ago. She couldn't go past the opportunity to buy some future females.
"I've taken a liking to the Speckles so I'm sort of trying to sell off everything else we have got and gradually bring in the Speckles," she said.
"But they are too expensive on Facebook and online so you have to come to the sale and pick up what I can when I can.
"I work at the saleyards so I see what comes in so it's very opportunistic."
Having been on the edge of recent storms in the area and picking up sporadic 10 millimetre falls, the couple had grass but were still feeding cattle.
"Looking at the forecast that is coming up, fingers crossed it is going to bring some rain," Ms Rossiter said.
"If it rains everything is going to be dearer so I think now is the opportunity to buy if you can and just hold out, pray for the rain."