It's not often that a seller's market is also a buyer's market but that's the way it worked out for the Hawkins family at Thursday's cattle sale at Blackall.
A month after 250mm of rain at Dumfries, Blackall, Russell and Deb Hawkins sold empty Santa-Hereford cross cows weighing 560kg for 196c/kg or $1100 a head, close to the top price at the sale.
"They've put on miles of weight and this is the best place for them," Mr Hawkins said. "We just replaced them with some steers."
Selecting from a number of pens on offer from the Barcaldine and Aramac areas, they finished with a deck-and-a-half of Santa Charolais cross weaner steers averaging 303kg for 256c/kg or $760/head.
"We don't normally buy and sell on the same day but it worked today," said Mr Hawkins.
It's also just the second time they've sold at Blackall since they arrived in the district two-and-a-half years ago, and they expect all their female cattle to be sold through the venue from now on.
"There's no point in going any further," Mr Hawkins commented. "Our dry cattle, which will be feeder steers, will go back down to Taroom and on from there."
At the moment their Blackall country is looking greener than Speculation and Moonamarra at Taroom, which has only recorded 75mm for the summer.
Despite that, they plan to "go gently" with restocking plans to let Dumfries recover.
"We've got to go carefully, it's not out of the woods yet," Mr Hawkins said.
"It's only going to get cold so it's going to be winter feed from now on, so we've got to go carefully at it.
"We've got five spare paddocks out there now and if we go at it steady - we've got to wean of course, they'll soak up a couple of those paddocks - we'll just keep cutting dry cows out and replacing them with steers.
"That's the plan anyway; it doesn't always work like that."
Ray White Livestock Blackall representive Andrew Turner said it was wonderful to be buying cattle for local producers again, instead of selling everything in their paddocks.
He said the market at Blackall on Thursday, where 2100 head were offered, was comparable to Dalby on Wednesday, with the freight component taken out.
Related: Dalby sale report
"The store market was stronger than Dalby and Roma, with good support from local producers," he said.
"It was a mixed yarding, with well finished fat cattle and young feeders, but the market was back 20 cents on a fortnight ago."
Restockers and feedlot operators were operating, along with live export operators in the market for the bulls on offer.