A freezing but sunny morning greeted buyers at Thursday's WVLX Mortlake July store sale, which had a fair drop in the quality of cattle for buyers than seen in previous months.
Agents yarded about 4600 cattle at the sale, which is a greater number than many other store sales in recent weeks.
But despite the big numbers, many vendors were mainly selling off lighter cattle, with many producers wanting to hold onto better cattle until the spring.
Nutrien Warnambool auctioneer Josh McDonald said the sale was a typical winter yarding, with the vendors selling stock that suited the market at the time or offloading any unwanted cattle.
"This was a bits-and-pieces type of yarding, and there wasn't a heap of a run of good cattle at the sale today," he said.
"Don't get me wrong there was some good cattle amongst them, but it was just more of a clean up for vendors, which gives us a real winter type store sale."
He said the region had seen a relatively calm winter, and the market was not taking any risks with bids, which drove down prices.
"Market wise, heavy steers are definitely cheaper, and everyone's expected it to be that way, and the middle run weaner steers, around that 320 to 330 kilogram, were much the same prices or only slightly cheaper," he said.
"Lighter cattle below that weight lost a bit too, and you could have probably seen a 30 to 40 drop, or even more in some places."
"Heavier heifers held up okay, but the lighte heifers have droppsed 50 to 60 cents."
Mr McDonald said buyers ranged from feedlotter Mort & Co purchasing the heavy steers, while JBS and Teys generally bought up a wider range of cattle.
Commission buyers Campbell Ross and Duncan Brown were also buying up at the sale, although the northern interest has waned.
Your lightest is probably lost a little bit as well. And I to put it in as cents per kilo figure you probably lost. You could have lost 30 or 40 cents on those lighter carts or more in prices.
However, the elephant in the room was the current developments with foot and mouth (FMD) and lumpy skin disease found in Bali, with continuous conversations throughout the gallery between agents, vendors and buyers about the outbreak.
Mr McDonald said that while he recognised there was a small amount of anguish, it hasn't influenced prices at the moment.
"There has been a bit of concern, and it is a bit like walking in the wilderness at the moment," he said.
"It is probably holding the local buyers back a little bit here, and they're just seeing what is happening in upcoming weeks and reading the room.
"But there is no panic button being pushed yet."
Notable sales included a run of pens of Banquet Angus steers, with one pen of 7 Angus steers, 413kg, selling for 566c/kg or $2340, and another pen of 14 steers, 387kg, selling for 600c/kg or $2322.
Bushy Park Angus received the highest per-head price of the day, selling a pen of 21 grown Angus steers, 614 kilograms, for 522 cents per kilogram or $3209 a head.
Windy Hill also had a pen of 11 Angus weaner steers, 399kg, selling for 560c/kg or $2234a head, while another pen of 19 Angus weaner steers, 323kg, sold for 636c/kg or $2052 a head.
Vendor Vicki Jones, Mortlake, who sold a pen of 16 Angus weaner steers, 406kg, for 540c/kg or $2192, said she was selling steers as it was "simply the time to sell them" and the threat of an FMD incursion had not come to mind at all.
"There is no other reason for us to sell whatsoever except they are spring weaners and it's a good time to sell them," she said.
"We're in the beef industry, and what is happening in Bali is catastrophic, but in a way we at the sales here are just continuing on trying to have a good sale as per normal."
Ms Jones said it was essential to recognise that the outbreak could impact cattle sales but also sales of sheep, goats "and many other animals".
"Australia has to remain steadfast, be cautious, and simply not throw the baby with the bathwater," she said.
The WVLX welcomed its ninth agent selling at the yard with Brian O'Halloran & Co Warrnambool selling its first set of pens in Mortlake.
The agent is regularly seen at Warrnambool but has decided to also sell at Mortlake.
WVLX saleyard manager Colin Ryan said it was a "pleasure to welcome new agents to our saleyards".
Belmont sold 15 Angus steers, 446kg, for 568c/kg or $2533.
G & S Ferguson sold 14 Angus steers, 386kg, for 580c/kg or $2239.
D.A.B. Ball sold 11 Angus steers, 406kg, for 558c/kg or $2267.
Taylor Ranch sold 10 Angus steers, 494kg, for 506c/kg or $2502.
Cobra Killuc sole 39 Angus steers, 338kg, for 634c/kg or $2143.
Carolan sold 49 Angus steers, 340kg, for 624c/kg or $2123.
Moraine Pastoral sold 48 Angus steers, 310kg, for 636c/kg or $1972.
Calcarab Digby sold 27 Angus steers, 302kg, for 634c/kg or $1916 and another pen of 35 Angus steers, 250kg, for 662c/kg or $1659.
R G Townsend sold 24 Red Angus steers, 310kg, for 628c/kg or $1948.
Coolana Rural sold 6 Angus heifers, 515kg, for 520c/kg or $2678.
Koronga North sold 11 Hereford steers, 528kg, for 484c/kg or $2554.
G Townsend sold 9 Red Angus cows with calves, for 442c/kg 588kg, for $2600.
Draffen Properties sold 19 PTIC Angus heifers, 550kg, 372c/kg, or $2050.
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