Numbers were up and prices were down slightly as Blackall's Livestock Agents Association ran its weekly sale under an adjusted regime that met coronavirus containment social distancing requirements.
Some 5900 head were yarded on Thursday, sourced from Blackall, Jericho, Aramac, Isisford, Hughenden, Quilpie, Torrens Creek, Muttaburra, Barcaldine, Boulia, Longreach, Cloncurry and Winton.
According to BLAA president Paton Fitzsimons, the price lull was due as much to the numbers flowing onto the market as to the uncertainty generated by the global pandemic.
"There are some huge numbers, brought about partly by how good the job is but largely because of the grasshoppers to the west of us," he said. "Around Winton, Richmond, Hughenden, Julia Creek they're eating people out of house and home."
A good panel of buyers were present, yet despite a generally good quality yarding most categories reduced slightly in price, in line with the rest of the state.
Price reductions were especially notable among Brahman and Brahman cross cattle, Mr Fitzsimons said.
Pens of 400-500kg feeder steers sold to a top of 360c/kg, while the best 300-350kg steers were 400c/kg and the best steers below 250kg made 414c/kg.
Of the 350-400kg good store heifers, the tops made 355c/kg; the best 250-300kg heifers went for 345c/kg, and heifers below 250kg sold for a top of 360c/kg.
PTIC cows made 275c/kg.
To the relief of Mr Fitzsimons, agents and buyers observed the spacing requirements in force through the sale.
He said both major export processors commented that Blackall had the best run yards this week, saying the procedures put in place had been faultless.
"It took us a little longer to sell but you do what you've got to do," Mr Fitzsimons said. "We'll continue to comply with whatever regulations are in force at the time."
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud confirmed late in the week that livestock saleyards and wool auctions were able to continue, describing them as an essential part of the broader agriculture supply chain.
"Like the rest of Australia, livestock saleyards and wool auctions will need to comply with strict social distancing and hygiene practices," he said. "I thank the National Auction Selling Committee and the individual saleyards that have already taken steps to implement social distancing protocols."
Around 4500 head have been booked for next week's Blackall sale, before a break for Easter. Sales will resume on April 16.
Lorne Grazing, Lorne, Blackall sold crossbred heifers for 356.6c/kg weighing 268kg to return $956.40/hd.
Mellish Park Grazing, Neenah Park, Longreach sold Brahman steers for 300.2c/kg weighing 321.5kg to return $963.86/hd.
Pathungra Properties, Pathungra, Boulia sold Droughtmaster steers for 289.9c/kg weighing 309.8kg to return $898.11/hd.
DA and JM Williams, Winton sold Droughtmaster steers for 399.6c/kg weighing 307.5kg to return $1228.77/hd.
Braemar Investments, Lighthouse, Blackall sold Santa cows for 254c/kg weighing 557kg to return $1414.78/hd.
RA Russell Pastoral Company, Sumnervale, Blackall sold Santa and Charolais cross steers to top at 360c/kg weighing 437 kg to return $1574/hd.
Summerdell Grazing, Summerdell, Jericho sold Droughtmaster cross steers to a top of 362c/kg weighing 306 kg to return $1108/hd.
MHG and JJ O'Dell, Colorado, Jericho sold Charolais steers to a top of 370c/kg weighing 350 kg to return $1297/hd.
RJ Murphy and family, Everton, Aramac sold Santa steers to a top of 400c/kg weighing 312 kg to return $1250/hd.
BA and SA Edwards, Oma, Isisford sold Santa cross steers to a top of 362c/kg weighing 353 kg to return $1279/hd.
St Clair Livestock, off agistment at Hughenden, sold very good quality Shorthorn cows to a top of 272c/kg weighing 530 kg to return $1443/hd.
They also sold Shorthorn and Shorthorn cross heifers to a top of 332c/kg weighing 306 kg to return $1016/hd.
Bloomfield Pastoral Company, Bloomfield, Blackall sold Droughtmaster steers to a top of 376c/kg weighing 307 kg to return $1157/hd.
BW and JM Dickson, Belle, Blackall sold Droughtmaster cross steers to a top of 360c/kg weighing 475 kg to return $1710/hd.
Clarenden Cattle Co, Clarenden, Blackall sold crossbred steers for 378.2c/kg weighing 398kg to return $1508/hd.
RK & L Politch, Wool Scour, Blackall sold Simmental steers for 390c/kg weighing 349kg for a return of $1363/hd.
N, S,T Seng, Beltram Park, Quilpie sold Droughtmaster steers for 356.2c/kg for 337kg for a return of $1202/kg.
ED Cattle Co, Strathelen, Torrens Creek sold EU Droughtmaster/Angus cross steers for 372.2c/kg weighing 315 kg for a return of 1173/hd.
CJ & MJ Arnold, Gelebele, Muttaburra sold very good quality Brahman steers for 346.2c/kg weighing 326kg returning $1130/hd.
CA Hauff & Son, Colart, Blackall sold Hereford steers for 412c/kg weighing 218kg to return $901/hd.
They sold Hereford heifers for 355c/kg weighing 302kg to return $1072/hd.
GJ and JM Bambling, Hazelmere, Aramac sold very good quality Charolais steers for 378.2c/kg weighing 368kg returning $1393/hd.
They also sold very good quality Charolais heifers for 352.2c/kg weighing 339kg to return $1194/hd.
BJ and TL Bambling, Hazelmere, Aramac sold very good quality Charolais heifers for 346.2c/kg weighing 308kg returning $1067/hd.
J and L Wells, Bristol, Barcaldine sold Angus heifers for 356.2c/kg weighing 319kg for a return of $1137/hd.
Benalla Stud Grazing, Monavale, Hughenden sold Braford heifers for 322.2c/kg weighing 320kg to return $1031/hd.
Taylor Dennis Pastoral, Coolagh, Blackall sold Santa heifers for 350.2c/kg weighing 286kg returning $1003/hd.
DV and RJ Bailey, Singleton Park, Isisford sold Simmental heifers 318.2c/kg weighing 312kg to return $994/hd.
Cameron Woltmann, Lydia, Winton sold Droughtmaster heifers for 348.2c/kg weighing 240kg returning $830/hd.
David and Hannah McLean, Texas, Jericho sold Angus cross heifers for 367.2c/kg averaging 211.9kg returning $778.26/hd.
They also sold Angus cross steers for 401.2c/kg averaging 222.1kg returning $891.09/hd.
Melinda Downs Pty Ltd, Melinda Downs, Cloncurry sold Droughtmaster steers for 349.7c/kg averaging 313.5kg returning $1096.30/hd.
MI McClymont, Maneroo, Longreach sold Brahman cows for 246.7c/kg averaging 448.8kg returning $1107.46/hd.
LW, MJ and EL Deem, Cambeela, Winton sold mixed breed steers for 292.9c/kg averaging 327.3kg returning $958.49/hd.