A softening of cattle prices, due in part to restricted buyer competition, has some producers and agents scratching their heads, particularly in parts of the state experiencing a decent season.
Cattle on offer during Monday's prime sale at Wagga Wagga declined, with 3100 yarded, down 1200 on previous sale.
The low yarding might have been in response to the market correction last week, but there had been a bit of rain across the south which may have encouraged producers to hang onto their stock and put more weight into them.
Nevertheless, there where significant price reductions for most cattle, leaving agents and vendors slightly bewildered at the lack of interest.
Nutrien livestock manager Peter Cabot, Wagga Wagga, quoted the top price for cows at 239 cents a kilogram. This was on a cheaper trend with limited buyers.
"Most of the good heavy cows sold from 210c/kg to 230c/kg, while the medium weight cows sold from 190c/kg to 200c/kg," Mr Cabot said.
Mr Cabot said the quality on offer overall was "pretty good", with the odd pen of underdone cattle still coming in.
"There were a lot of heavy cattle here, with heavy bullocks making from 250c/kg to 280c/kg," he said.
"But they were cheaper at that price, while good heavy steers making 270c/kg to 280c/kg and feeder steers at 330c/kg were also cheaper."
The offering of 1453 cattle at Forbes prime sale on Monday included 400 cows.
Scott Reid, VC Reid Smith Livestock, Forbes, said the prices for cows were "pretty solid", which might account for such a predominance.
"The prices for heavy cattle were 10c/kg to 15c/kg cheaper on last week," he said.
"The prices for cows slipped by 20c/kg but they have been relativity good and that might account for the high number coming in.
"We also had 551 cows yarded last week, and while we are seeing good heavy prime cattle at the sale, they are in limited numbers, which will increase as we get closer to warmer weather and a good spring growth."
It was a similar situation at Gunnedah on Tuesday when the offering of 2465 head was down by 850 on the previous sale.
Meat and Livestock Australia reported the quality was mixed and reflected the dry conditions across the district, as producers were opting to sell now rather than hold on for what looks like a tight spring and summer.
Demand was weaker with restockers reluctant to compete strongly on the light weight and plainer quality cattle.
Medium weight cows sold to cheaper trends under weaker competition while the well finished heavy weight cows which sold to 220c/kg saw a trend that was firm on the best and cheaper for quality on the balance.