The absence of buyers from northern processors had a noticeable impact on recent prime sales with cows bearing the brunt of the lack of competition.
With a week-long closure of JBS Dinmore, the largest meatworks in the southern hemisphere, the rapid price rise for cows was shot down by up to 20c/kg at some saleyards.
At least 1018 head were yarded at Tamworth on Monday where Purtle Plevey director Patrick Purtle said the cow market had dropped 15c/kg to 20c/kg but still hit highs of 295c/kg ($1797/hd).
The quality of cows, particularly the last three weeks, remained high but the absence of a northern processor was felt, despite the return of one from the south.
"They ordinarily would kill a reasonable amount of cattle and that has got some impact on competition just in that point of the market," he said.
"That cow market got very dear very quickly and I think that is just a response to that.
"If they are back in the next couple of weeks increased competition will drive it strong again."
Two major buyers were also absent from the Inverell sale on Tuesday causing medium weight cows to drop by 20c/kg and heavy D3 and D4 cows to fall 19-21c/kg.
"The saleyards have been way ahead of their (processor) kill rates and they are trying to bring it back," Philip Frame of Frame Rural Agencies at Inverell.
The majority of markets were cheaper in the halved yarding of 520 head but light restocker cattle were dearer up to 520c/kg with trade yearling heifers up 5c/kg.
"Plenty of restockers are wanting to buy because they have got oats 15 to 18 inches high," he said.
JBS weren't operating to their full extent at Armidale last Thursday but still filled orders for their Scone plant. The impact of their reduced buying capacity was softened by the presence of two other processors.
Ray White Livestock Armidale/Guyra agent Sam Sewell said the last two to three yardings were some of the best conditioned offerings for some time.
"A lot of the the stock coming through now are carrying a fair bit of condition," he said.
"I thought the export market was remarkably good considering what could eventuate with JBS doing what they are doing but on the restocking front there is probably more orders than cattle."
With close to 1000 head at the last two sales, he questioned how long the supply would continue.
"The numbers have to stop. We have been doing this for two years now so it has to have a break at some point," he said.
Away from the cow market, excitement rose at Tamworth when bullocks weighing more than 925 kilograms sold for 285c/kg to return just under $2800/hd.