The largest yarding in nearly 40 years put 3292 head through the Grafton selling ring on Thursday.
Steers to 400kg comprised 2107 head which sold to an average of 436.8c/kg and $902 (341.8c/kg and $820 last sale), reaching a top of $1698.
Heifers to 540kg included 1145 head which averaged 394c/kg and $853 (345c/kg and $830 last sale), reaching a top of $1467.
It was a long day, starting pre-dawn with yardsmen and agents sorting cattle supplied by 165 vendors. At 10am buyers lined the rail and bidding began in earnest, with cattle scanned and weighed before entering the ring. By 4pm the last of the steers were knocked down and heifers went up for sale, a parade which persisted until twenty past nine, all of it broadcast online through Stocklive.
Grafton saleyard employee Robbie Sutherland, Tullymorgan, said previous events in the time of Moy and Darby agencies were larger but as a rule were split into two day events.
The pace of bidding had to match the fact that cattle were owned by so many people. The largest vendor offered 160 head; four of them sold more than 80 head each and the rest were in smaller lots.
"We really appreciated the buyers," said a relieved David Farrell, of Farrell McCrohan, who along with Ray Donovan Agencies hosted the epic sale. "They knew it was going to be a big yarding and they stayed until; the end."
Continuing excellent prices for restockers, current drying conditions, combined with potential threat of a wet winter, and slow pasture growth on the coast pressured producers to offload more than they reckoned.
"Vendors who booked in 20 head would arrive with 40," said Mr Farrell.
Throughout the marathon just four voices shared the arena - David Farrell and his partner Ben Clark; Ray Donovan and his son in law Innes Fahey.
Ray's son Mitch, usually the auctioneer with the smoothest voice, fell flat after just 15 minutes on the knocking box and spent the remainder of the sale out the back. He got home at 3am Friday morning and returned three hours later to help load 14 B-Doubles going from the Darling Downs to Victoria and west to Coonamble.
"The western buyers were there right until the end," Mr Donovan said. "The market did not give in."
"As yard staff started to wilt Mr Donovan bucked them up. "I said to them you are now a part of history!"
Heavy steers sold to $1573, for Charbray from Joel Chevally, Fineflower, 460kg at 342 cents a kilogram.
The Ellem family, Whiteman Creek, sold Hereford cross steers, 388kg for 386c/kg or $1497 going for backgrounding.
Darcy and Pauline Browning, Bellingen, sold the champion pen of Angus steers with Brooklana blood, 282kg for 484c/kg or $1364, going onto the Northern Tabelands.
Kahuna Pty Ltd, with paddocks at Ulmarra and Tucabia, sold Angus steers with Booroomooka blood, 234kg for 492c/kg or $1151 going to the Inverell district.
Champion pen of Euro cross steers Moorhead family, Baryulgil Pastoral, EU accredited, 514c/kg, 228kg, $1175 going to local backgrounder PK Rural.
Their Charolais cross heifers 458c/kg, 199kg, $915, going to Inverell district.
Heifer Station sold terminal Charolais from first cross cows, 272kg for 446c/kg or $1213, going to Alexander Downs.
Adam and Belinda Chapman, Fineflower, sold EU accredited Charolais cross, also from first cross cows, 249kg to 468c/kg or $1165 to local backgrounder Charlie Mifsud.
Angus heifers from Wally Borsato, Brooklana, 400c/kg, 290kg, $1160 going to Inverell district.