Store sales in southern Australia over the past fortnight have shown a mix of confidence and uncertainty, depending on where you look.
This week's store sale at Sale in Victoria's Gippsland met good demand for anything that showed some quality.
On Monday the sale at Echuca reported good prices for the 1100 head on offer, with especially strong demand for any heavier cattle.
Meat & Livestock Australia analysis indicates markets in the south are weakening, reporting that big yardings and and limited restocker competition is pushing the price down.
Also that with forecasts of hot and dry conditions in the month ahead, it's likely there will be more feeder cattle on offer, but at lighter weights.
But for the southern half of Victoria that seasonal outlook doesn't quite fit.
South and East Gippsland have had very wet winters, with producers there showing a willingness to source stock ahead of what they expect will be a good summer.
The southwest of the state has had as good a winter, but recent store sales there can be best described as uninspiring.
Last Friday the store sale at Colac offered 900 head and agent with Charles Stewart and Dove, Phil Douglas said it wasn't as strong as the month before.
There was a couple of feedlotters who weren't present, who normally are," he said.
"Anything with a bit of weight still sold quite well, but there were a lot of underdone cattle, and you were feeling for bids all the time."
The yarding was mostly local cattle, but Mr Douglas said there were some from further north.
"We had a couple of lines of northern cattle, that had been on agistment down here," he said.
"They were lighter cattle but really good quality, with a bit of bos Indicus in them.
"I think a few people on Friday night would've been telling themselves they should have a crack at those."
Mr Douglas said it looks like local producers were using last week's sale to clean up their stock, with a lot of smaller lots, and with good pasture on the ground and even more rain in the past week, it's likely the sales between now and Christmas will be stronger.
"We've been pretty luck season wise here, in Gippsland and all the way west through to Hamilton, especially compared to up north," he said.
"We've got clients who target the November and December sales and I think we'll start seeing a few of our weaner lines come in, in December."
On Friday Mt Gambier will hold its monthly sale with 1200 head listed, but its not known if there will be large numbers of drought affected light younger cattle from South Australia's northern pastoral areas, which pushed prices down in September.
Other southern selling centres are unsure if they'll see a repeat of the influx of cattle from NSW, which were on offer at sales from Wagga Wagga, south to Bairnsdale last month.
MLA reports that feeder buyers remain the driving force in the market, but declining entry weights for lot feeders, could challenge input costs, with higher prices for feed grain and depleted water supplies now becoming an increasing concern for the sector.
That could put even more price pressure on southern store markets.