GRASS-RICH restockers looking to buy were faced with extremely strong competition at Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange store sale on Friday, where there were 1450 head yarded.
The top-priced cows made $2500 each for a lot of 32 head. Pregnancy-tested-in-calf cows topped at $2880 for a pen of 13.
Steers fetched $1885, heifers were dearer making up to $2250 and cows with calves at foot blew out to $3670.
Light weaner steers sold from $970 to $1455 selling to 925 cents a kilogram for very light weaners.
Medium weight weaner steers made from $1245 to $1530 or 590c/kg and heavy weights reached $1675 a head and averaged from 460c/kg to 500c/kg.
Heavy yearling steers made from $1800 to $1880 and joinable heifers sold from $1500 to $1905, averaging from 415c/kg to 430c/kg.
Medium weight weaner heifers sold from $1330 to $1410 and heavy weights reached $1650 a head.
The consistency of prices had some potential buyers giving up on a yearling bargain in the sale's first half, hoping for better luck with cows and calves later on, only to face buy-in prices that even with the great season continuing would result in tight margins.
Peter and Sheryl Conlan were looking for something they would be able to trade within six months, but found the going tough.
The Conlan's agent, Rob Makepeace, Nutrien Ag, said he had a B-double at hand, hoping to fill it with some decently priced cattle.
Before the sale Mr Makepeace was wary. "I've been here before and picked up some very good cattle, but I don't know about today," he said.
"It's a good sale if you're selling," said Digby Rowlands, Werribee, Woodstock, and sell he did, unloading 35 heifers and 10 steers.
His 14-month-old steers fetched $1750.
Alan Beecroft, Hamana, Rylstone, in the sale's early stages laughed when asked what his ceiling price was.
"Well $1000 was my ceiling price," he said. "I bought 75 steers in April at $920.
"I've not seen a season this good in 40 years, I've just never seen anything like it, we've got clover in mountain country.
Mitchell Redding, Moondoogundi, Mudgee, said he wanted to buy, but caution would lead him after the drought, when he sold almost everything to survive.
"I fed a total of seven cows through the drought," he said.
Wayne Walker, Sunnyside, Cudal, reckoned the prices on Friday would make it difficult for anyone to make a profit, but that was mainly because of a countrywide cattle shortage.
"The numbers just aren't there, some of the agents here would normally have rows of lots on offer," he said.
Tony Sullivan, Tonelle, Spring Hill was chasing cows and calves but said he was quite prepared to trade anything he might make a dollar on.
Brian Johnston, Carribie, Emu Swamp, was a bit taken aback by the prices.
"We sold cows and calves in the drought for $300-$400, now I reckon I can make $2500 to $2700 work," he said.