Cashed up commercial producers have been spending big money for new bulls this season but the push to upgrade female genetics has been just as expensive.
During the Sugarloaf Angus, Dungog, sale recently rising three-year-old pregnancy tested in calf commercial females made $4000/head while three-year-old cows with young calves at foot sold to $4600.
Knowla Angus, Gloucester, saw six registered heifers PTIC average $4375 while 100 unjoined Angus yearling heifers averaged $2098.
In Wallarobba two unjoined Angus heifers from Urban Angus averaged $2150, more than double the $700/hd that was paid last year.
It's not an uncommon trend with stock agents reporting coastal producers running smaller operations are willing to pay for quality over quantity.
"They might only have 20 cows so they can afford to have 20 good cows," Bowe and Lidbury agent Rodney McDonald said.
Fifth generation producer Barry Shearman runs Tremarton Park near Fullerton Cove and has been gradually improving his genetic base on the former dairy farm.
"My ancestors are (of the mindset) bull and cow gives you a calf, no quality in it, and I've just been striving to upgrade all the time," he said.
"I've had to go to work as well so I've never had the opportunity to go out and buy $30,000 or $40,000 worth of breeding cattle so I've been doing it in dribs and drabs."
That was why he paid $4000/head for the PTIC Sugarloaf heifers to join his herd of 100 breeders, mainly Angus with some Speckle Park.
"They didn't come cheap but I fully believe after being in business for 25 years you pay for what you get - it comes down to what you are prepared to pay," he said.
"Yes I had a limit and yes I blew that limit but those sort of cattle don't come around all the time.
"If it puts that little bit extra into my herd (it's worth it)."
Mr Shearman normally calves in July and August but will join a portion of heifers to calve in March and April so their weaner progeny will be older and heavier come sale time.
He also opts to join his females older, from two years.
"I don't like calving too early, I am probably a bit old fashion," he said.
"If you lose them you have lost the lot. I would sooner wait. If they have six or eight calves they have paid for themselves, get rid of them and move on."