Buyers looking for future breeders outcompeted feeders and pushed weaner heifers to never been seen before rates at Naracoorte last Friday.
The 1820 head yarding topped at $1823 and averaged a magical $1578, well up on the $1353 average for heifers in the December sale at the same venue.
The majority of the yarding made $4.60/kg-$5/kg with a few pens up to $5.20/kg.
Kanangra Props, Furner, claimed top price honours $1823 for 18 Black Simmental-Angus.
The 389.4kg, March-April drops were bought for $4.68/kg by Nampara Pastoral Company through Elders Mount Gambier.
Nampara secured 100 heifers to be mated to their Angus bulls and re-offered as pregnancy tested in calf heifers next year.
They were also successful on the heaviest pen in the complete drop from Glendoon Pastoral Co, Binnum.
The 20 Sterita Park-Pathfinder blds weighing 390kg made $1810.
Kanangra Props received $4.80/kg for another pen 358kg Black Simmental-Angus, equating to $1718. These went to Elders Lucindale.
The top price steer sellers, Boonderoo Pastoral Company, Conmurra, sold 90 February-March, EU accredited, Sheraco blood Angus heifers, which averaged 355kg, averaging $1670.
Their highest price pen in dollars a head were 16 382kg heifers which made $4.72/kg, or $1803 to Spence Dix & Co.
Also selling their complete drop of Angus and adding to the exceptional quality of the yarding was RJ,JE, AB&CA Smith, Joanna.
Their heaviest Glatz blood heifers, 371kg, made $1790, also to Nampara.
The Joanna vendors also enjoyed some of the highest cents a kilogram rates with 35 321kg heifers making $1670, or $5.20/kg.
SA&GE Smith, Lakala, Lucindale, received $5.12/kg for 26 February-March drop, Hazeldean and Stoney Point blds weighing 289.2kg.
Sunray Pastoral, Millicent, received $1730 for 15 EU Simmental- Red Angus, Woonallee bld, weighing 364kg.
The two-day weaner sale was interfaced with AuctionsPlus and while bids were few and far between on the steers the previous day there was plenty of quick fire bidding on heifers.
AuctionsPlus bid on 54 per cent of the yarding and secured 199 head with their 206 bids for NSW and SA buyers.
Miller Whan & John Mount Gambier account Ogilvie Group led the buyer list with nearly 300 head, while Spence Dix & Co's Jono Spence put together 126 head.
PPHS Penola-based agent Ashley Braun said prices were 30-40c/kg above expectation with heavy heifer rates only 10c/kg behind steer rates the previous day and an even smaller difference on lighter weight heifers.
"We thought heavy heifers might make $4.30/kg-$4.40/kg not $4.60/kg-$5/kg but we had Nampara, Nutrien Adelaide and Spence Dix all trying to buy the better heifers," he said.
"I bought 300kg DiGiorgio heifers in the December sale for $4.34/kg but the same weight of heifers this time made $4.93/kg so that was $1340 compared to $1520."
Mr Braun said it was difficult to predict if the market was near its peak or whether this was the "new normal" driven by grass fever.
"There are plenty saying it doesn't matter how many come out of the south it will not be enough to fill the north, while there are big rains and the grass is growing away they will keep looking for cattle," he said.
There was always going to be a shortage of cows at some stage, it is good to see the breeders having their turn again.
"I'm not saying it was bound to happen but you could see the writing on the wall five or six years ago when everyone was getting out of cows and calves and going into trading.
"There was always going to be a shortage of cows at some stage, it is good to see the breeders having their turn again."
He expected another large yarding for the next Naracoorte weaner sales in a fortnight's time on January 21 and 22.
"Normally we've got blokes who take a draft of their steers off and leave a few behind to grow out but a lot of people are saying if the bottom end can make $1400-$1500 we're better to sell the lot," he said.
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