The Myrtleford Annual Weaner Sale today proved "mud means money" as prices hit $1880 a head, after the region received up to 163 millimetres of rain for the week.
Local producers attempted to compete for the 1852 head yarding at the Paull Scollard Nutrien Ag Solutions sale on Friday, but it was the feedlot buyers who dominated.
Heavy weaner steers, weighing from 380 to 430 kilograms returned 400-427 cents a kilogram, with the top price of $1880/hd paid for a pen of Angus steers, average 440kg, offered by Les Brines, Rosewhite.
"It is true what they say, mud means money. This is the best autumn break we have had in a really long time," Myrtleford drover Dick Dale said.
Wagga commission buyer Andrew Lowe, Landmark International's Andrew Wishart, commission buyers Duncan Brown and Peter Tuohey, and Ravensworth Feedlot led the charge in the buying gallery.
Major vendor Rob Muller, Buckland Valley, offered 100 black baldy steers which hit $1670, av $1448/hd, and 95 Angus heifers topped at $1410, av $1265. The steer offering averaged 348kg, and 441c/kg.
After being threatened by fires in January which forced him to hold stock in containment yards for three weeks, Mr Muller said the sale was "a nice reward for the effort".
He received 163mm at his Buckland Valley property last week, and said his spring calving cows were set up for a "magnificent" season.
Neighbour Peter Eggleston sold a pen of light steers for 475c/kg, and said the market kick "would instill confidence in breeders in the North East to continue doing what they do best - that's breeding great cattle".
Local vendor, O'Connor's View, offered two pens of heavy Angus steers, which sold to $1720, (or 421c/kg at 409kg), and 14 head to $1590, (or 458c/kg at 347c/kg).
In the lighter run of weaners steers, Stuart Robertson, Myrtleford was thrilled to receive $1490/hd , or 495c/kg, for a pen of 301kg Angus steers, followed by $1300/hd, or 528c/kg, 246kg, as competition between feedlots and backgrounders heated.
Local buyer Bryan Proctor, Indigo Valley, worked hard to secure 100 replacement Angus steers but said whether you were buying or selling, the turn in the market and season was welcome.
"Anyone that complains about the rain or cattle prices is an idiot. There is nothing sillier than a farmer with grass and no cattle - so I need to buy," he said.
"There have been so many females slaughtered out of the system and no one knows where the numbers will come from, so I still think there is a return there."
The heifer run didn't disappoint, Chris Dalbosco, Eurobin, offering 42 Angus steers, which topped at $1580, or 421c/kg, and 26 heifers at $1460/hd, for an estimated 389c/kg.
Paull & Scollard Nutrien Ag Solution manager Dan Ivone said some of the top prices were the highest he had ever seen at the annual sale.
"Wehave had a good season here but people were getting a little bit nervous in the past fortnight," Mr Ivone said.
"We had about four inches of rain throughout the valley which has set us up for autumn. Buyers from the north and south were very strong today, and locals who would normally stand up were struggling to buy any. cattle":