Grafton store sale on Thursday penned 1783 head, double the expected number from an estimate the week prior after an October yarding of just 240 head. Heavy steers sold to $2006, cows to $3025; light steers to 666 cents a kilogram and light heifers not far behind at 634c/kg.
Steers to 400kg dominated the all day sale, with 725 head paraded through the selling ring over the first six hours. They averaged 459.7 c/kg or $1223 (457c/kg and $1092 last month)and reaching a top of $1730.
Heavier steers 400-500kg, 116 on offer, averaged 410.8c/kg or $1763 (383c/kg and $1665 last month). Heavier ones again averaged 348c/kg or $1846. A couple big framed Charolais cross steers went to slaughter at Wingham at 408c/kg for 466kg while the other made 348c/kg for 825kg or $2872.
Buyers sent cattle west from Dubbo and Tamworth to the Darling Downs but local restocker competition was very strong, with many remaining in the Clarence Valley.
Brian and Vida Fahey, Lilydale, sold Charolais cross steers, 232kg, for 568c/kg or $1318 to Bruce Finlay, Kangaroo Creek and their lighter calves, 145kg, made 656c/kg.
Ross and Tracey Lawson bought a pen of black baldy, 369kg, for 346c/kg or $1279 for grass finishing. "My numbers were getting down," Mr Lawson said.
Jeff Archer, Coombadjha Pastoral, bought milk tooth Droughtmaster/Brahman steers 337kg for 438c/kg or $1476 and will grow them out to bullocks on river country.
"We won't get a return for three or four years so it's a gamble at these prices but you've got to replace your cattle," he said.
Former jockey Carla Dougherty, Grafton, sold Angus/Brangus, 411kg, for 430c/kg or $1768 going to Junction Hill just west of the city.
Troy and Mirasol Irwin, Verges Creek via Kempsey, bought dual purpose Brown Swiss steers, 234kg for 280c/kg or $656 after recently selling Friesan steers that turned 100pc profit in five months.
"Our production costs are exceptionally low and we live very simply," Mr Irwin said. "We came to Grafton the night before the sale to stay in a motel, eat a succulent Chinese meal and watch TV."
Heifers to 540kg were hot, as expected with 553 on offer and averaging 420c/kg or $1095 (423c/kg and $962 last month) and reaching a top of $1841. A run of 39 heifers tested in calf sold open auction averaged $1942 and reached $2300 for red tagged Angus going to the Queensland's western downs.
Mark Heyman, Seelands via Grafton paid $2250 for red tagged Droughtmaster heifers by Billabong stud bulls because he knew the lineage, having bred them with his son Todd, now the breed society president. "We sold a property at Lilydale and they went with it. Now their place is being sold again."
Cangai grazier Mick Harper took advantage of another dispersal, of Angus produced by Arnold Matthews on Old Glen Innes Road, paying 454c/kg for heifers 293kg or $1330.
"Who's to say prices will be much different next year?" he asked.
Ben and Ken Slack-Smith, from nearby OBX Creek, sold Angus cross to 492c/kg for 215kg.
Light Droughtmaster heifers made 486c/kg for 1778kg, going to Vanessa Ashfield, Glenreagh Station.
Bronc Riley, Springwood Grazing sold Brahman cross heifers, 241kg, that he had raised since poddy calves, making 400c/kg or $966.
Brad Johnston, Levenstrath, paid 318c/kg or $1368 for a shiny Brahman cross heifer, 430kg, tested in calf.
Most cows sold liveweight, 178 head, averaging $2261 and reaching $3025. Cows sold cents a kilo made from 250-350c/kg (248-292c/kg last month).