Angus and Angus-cross steer prices sold 10 to 15 cents a kilogram above expectation at the first of the Hamilton weaner sales on Monday.
Steers, weighing between 360-450 kilograms, fetched $1161-$1416, averaging 320c/kg.
Steers 280-360kg gained prices between $985-$1213, averaging 333c/kg.
The average price paid for 3241 weaners yarded was 326c/kg with the average weight 357kgs.
Two South Australian feedlots and two live export orders were the main supporters of the Angus steer yarding, which also drew restocker competition from central and southern NSW and west and south Gippsland but attracted only limited local interest.
One of the main highlights of the sale was a sustained interest in EU-accredited stock that drew a 10 to 15 c/kg premium throughout the day.
Specialist lot feeders, Thomas Foods, Murray Bridge and Princess Royal Station, Burra, both from South Australia were the principal drivers of the EU premium. However restocker orders also retained a healthy portion within the EU-system beneath the weight required by the major feeders.
A further highlight of the opening sale was the outstanding quality and exceptional weights following another above-average growing season throughout the south-west.
A good number of pens were offered with curfewed weights above 400kg cattle, with the second drafts of each line carded weighing 360 to 380kg.
Topping the opening sale with a dollar per head price of $1458 was Corra, Penshurst.
Its Te Mania and Coolana-blood steers, aged 13-14 months, made 297c/kg for their 491kg while a second pen weighed at 442kg made 314c to realize $1385.
JW & RD McErvale, Branxholme sold the next best priced pen at $1416 a head.
Their yard of Banquet-blood, EU-accredited Cadell Angus steers, 428kg, received bids to 331c/kg while a second pen of their Cadell steers, containing Simmental-bloodline, weighing 435kg, made 320c/kg for $1392.
LMB Linke auctioneer Bernie Grant said prices were above expectations and reward for the investment in better genetics made by vendors. The repeat buying support had declared that Hamilton cattle perform, Mr Grant said.
Some of the vendor averages were: Athlone South - 201 head, top $1262, av $1163; Athlone -152 head, top $1208, av $1554; Mt Napier - 134, top $1208, av $1154; Coffey Partnership -16, top $1346, av $1218.