A premium for quality heavy cows in prime condition is helping to push up the average NSW auction price in saleyards.
After slipping to a low of 183 cents a kilogram in early June, the NSW Cow Indicator has improved to sit at 199c/kg early this week.
Cows weighing more than 520kg have averaged 219c/kg, which is up about 8c/kg on the same time last week, according to Meat and Livestock Australia figures.
In contrast, the cows from 400kg to 520kg slipped 5c/kg in the past week to be at 166c/kg.
Good supplies of cows have been offered at the Dubbo prime market and Plasto and Company director and livestock manager Ross Plasto, Wellington, said there's certainly been demand for the heavy end of the auction.
He said there were also still opportunities for restockers if they had the resources, such as feed, available to them.
"You can pick up younger, well-bred cows for between $500 and $700 and then have the option of feeding them or getting a calf," he said.
"We've been seeing an interest from Queensland buyers on the younger cows in recent weeks."
The heavy end of the market was where the higher cents a kilogram prices were most common as processors dominated this segment.
"Cows weighing more than 600kg are making 200c/kg to 240c/kg, while those around 520kg to 550kg are 180c/kg to 210c/kg," Mr Plasto said.
"Certainly the prices have come back and part of that is the demand from restockers right across the market.
"While we are not in an El Nino, that dry is creeping south and with it the restocker demand has been switched off."
Gloucester's all-breed female sale last week reflected the tightening market conditions and increased price pessimism.
Northern Rivers Meats and Wingham Beef Exports were active on the rails, buying the larger proportion of the females on offer.
James Gooch, Gooch Agencies, Gloucester, said the young Angus cows with their first calves sold well, given the conditions, but older cows were not keenly sought after.
"The local guys around here are chasing young and black females," Mr Gooch said. "But the older females are not high on the list."
A pen of three first-calf Angus cows offered by Matam Investments, Coolongolook, set an early price of $2400 and was bought by J and D Stidolph, Bulahdelah.
Meanwhile, commercial pregnancy-tested-in-calf heifers were also in demand at the Gilmandyke sale at Kangaroobie last Thursday.
The 100 head sold for an average of $2460 a head and top of $3000, with half picked up by buyers on AuctionsPlus - indicating there's still demand from restockers for the right article.
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