RESTOCKER cattle are becoming a rare commodity at southern NSW prime sales with abundant feed inciting graziers to hold on to cattle.
Restocker competition was ground to almost a halt, with far to much weight in the yarding at Wagga Wagga prime sale on Monday according to reports from Meat and Livestock Australia.
In the north of the state, there was still a trickle of young, light cattle on offer but numbers have dried up and buyers from the New England and the Northern Tablelands were looking to Queensland to find what they're after.
Yearling steers sold to a top of 490 cents a kilogram at Tamworth on Monday, while heifers rose to a top of 481c/kg for articles weighing 280kg to 330kg.
Pitt Son Porter and Finlayson agent Sam Payne, Walcha, said producers buying in cattle at the 340kg mark and would look to sell them into the feedlot at about 480kg.
"A lot of cattle are putting on 1.5kg to 2kg a day on pastures, so they'll be ready to sell around Christmas time," he said.
Further south, store markets were roaring, with light cattle less than 200kg attracting close to 700c/kg at Yass and Wodonga last week.
But, the chance of finding young, affordable cattle in southern and central prime markets has moved from tricky to near impossible.
Ray White Emms Mooney director Steven Mooney said there were virtually no restocker cattle yarded at Carcoar on Tuesday, but there were a lot of feeders.
"They made up to 424c/kg and cross breds made up to 410c/kg, it's dearer by five to 15c/kg," Mr Mooney said.
He predicted restockers buying cattle at sky-high prices would still make a profit. "There won't be big margins in it, but I think it will stay very strong," he said.
Ray White Albury agent James Brown said they were struggling for numbers at the Wodonga prime sale, with just 750 to 850 in the Tuesday yarding (for steers and heifers) most weeks.
"It's just the way the season's unfolded ... with rain and plenty of feed in the paddock, combined with some uncertainty when Victorian processors were cut to 60 odd per cent of their capacity," Mr Brown said.
"Plenty of people were in no rush to sell them and opted to put the weight on."