It was a tough market at Tenterfield on Thursday with only the barest of local support, given the bitter conditions going into winter.
Of all the Northern Tablelands' districts, this has had the worst summer with no joy going through autumn. Last weekend's rain amounted to nothing. As of this week there have been morning frosts with more to come.
Top Angus steers off Billirimba Station made 274 cents a kilogram staying local with Brian Blake.
Heavy milk tooth Angus steers also stayed in the district, with a pen of 10 from the Horn family going to John Hurtz for 274c/kg who will use them to make up a load of some other feedlot ready steers.
"This will save on transport," he said. "There's still good money for steers going direct onto feed."
Volume buyers sent 300 head to St George and another 100 to Meandarra through agents Grant Daniel Long, while a number went to Wagga Wagga and Albury.
Lex and Lorna Paterson, Legume, sold light steer weaners with Sara Park and Nairn Park blood, 190kg, for 265c/kg going to Goondiwindi. The couple were forced to wean early because of a lack of feed and water, supplementing those calves on a ration of pellets.
"We had to think ahead in this season," said Mrs Paterson. "We had to keep the cows in good order and they have picked up a lot since we took their calves off them."
The best heifers, also off Billirimba Station, sold for 234c/kg, going to Brett and Janet Porter, Forbes River on the Hastings, who de-stocked ahead of the drought and now now have grass ready for just such an opportunity. Mike Behn, buying for Riverina Livestock Agents was the keen underbidder, but came away with a pen from the same producer for 183c/kg.
Sophie Watson, Kentucky bought a pen of Angus heifers for 186c/kg keen to make a success in spite of the tricky season, although the weekend fall of 17mm has certainly helped the creek flats on her property.
Barnaby Joyce was among the throng, keen to push his political platform, telling punters that there was winter feed sprouting 20cm high on his own property, ready for cattle in the next few weeks.
"There is hope here," he said from the auctioneer's platform. "There's a buck to be made because there is feed somewhere."
Mr Joyce also used his platform to speak against Labor, saying impending vegetation laws should the opposition gain power would result in "your trees becoming their trees."
"The coalition has protected the live cattle trade and expanded markets and demand yet Labor wants to close live sheep trade, along with the live cattle trade and transport will be next.
"Socialism," he said "Doesn't work."
Thursday's Tentefield sale was held by livestock agents Alford and Duff with Harold Curry.