PRIME cattle prices have lifted another 40 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) in the past week as processors battle with restockers for limited supplies at saleyards.
The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator had climbed to about 674c/kg early this week which was nearly 150c/kg higher than a month ago.
While a steep rise in cattle prices is not uncommon, the prices at this time of the year are setting new benchmarks.
NSW selling centres appear to be behind the dearer indicator price with Tamworth young cattle averaging well above the EYCI at 741c/kg, while Wagga's average was 686.75c/kg.
Young cattle at Dubbo also sold well above the EYCI averaging 704.50c/kg last Thursday.
Vealer steers were in such strong demand at Tamworth on Monday they sold for 514.2c/kg (liveweight) which was a new record price for that centre. Those steers tipped the scales at 186kg and returned $953 to local vendor Barry Miller.
Selling agent Chris Paterson of Chris Paterson Stock and Station Agents, Tamworth, said it's the most money he had ever auctioned vealer steers to in his 33-year career.
The Forbes cattle sale was not reported by Meat and Livestock Australia last week, so comparisons were difficult, however Scott Reid from Ray White VC Reid and Son, Forbes, said the market on Monday was dearer.
Mr Reid estimated the trade cattle were 10c/kg dearer topping at 365c/kg, while the feeder lines were as much as 10c/kg to 20c/kg topping at 390c/kg.
"Weaner steers were also markedly dearer ... topping at 425c/kg," he said.
The feeder and restocker markets were a standout at Carcoar on Tuesday with restocker vealer steers htting a top of 424c/kg.
Overall, feeder steers were 3c/kg to 6c/kg dearer topping at 412c/kg, and the feeder heifers were up to 18c/kg better hitting 376c/kg.
Restockers were also highly active at Gunnedah on Tuesday and pushed prices for light yearling steers to 468c/kg.
Medium and heavy weight steers to restock and feed attracted strong competition and lifted the market about 20c/kg when compared with last week's sale.
But it's not just prime cattle markets hitting record highs for this time of year.
Weaner steers sold to a top of 536c/kg at Carcoar store sale last Friday which was on the back of a 7374 head weaner sale the week before which was also dearer. Yearling steers sold as high as 443c/kg ($1390) as restockers from outside the district pushed up competition to secure the limited number of pens.
Breeding females also attracted spirited bidding and at the Gloucester female sale the turn in the district's season meant big framed Angus cows with calves topping the sale at $2850 a unit.