NEXT month, everyone involved in the weaner sales at Wodonga will be hoping the carpark is full.
Whether the line-up is dominated by NSW and Queensland number plates or strictly Victorian will largely be determined by how the weather plays out in the next couple of weeks.
Big rain can change the game plan for any weaner sale but particularly at Wodonga, which has often been a centre of choice thanks to its freight advantage.
Northern NSW and Queensland producers have also spoken of the fact that Wodonga calves are already acclimatised, used to the warm conditions that they will face when transported north.
Regardless of who buys, agents and vendors are quietly confident their cattle will once again stand up against stock from other regions.
The Wodonga weaner sales begin on January 4.
The combined forces of stock agencies Brian Unthank Rodwell, Kindellan Livestock, Paull & Scollard, Ray White Schubert Boers and Peter Ruaro Livestock will sell 4500 weaners.
Then the Wodonga action settles for a few days before kicking off again on January 10, when 6000 Angus weaners will be offered by Corcoran Parker, Elders and Landmark.
The following day, another 4000 black baldy, Euro-cross and Hereford calves will be offered at a sale held by Corcoran Parker, Elders and Landmark.
It's a hectic schedule, with almost 15,000 weaners to be offered in just three days. An estimated 80 per cent of the calves will be weaned and a growing percentage will be EU accredited.
The president of the Albury Wodonga Stock and Station Agents Association, Michael Unthank, said everyone was geared up for selling at this time of year.
He's more than aware of what is happening in the prime markets, given that Wodonga is one of the biggest prime selling centres in southeastern Australia.
And he has no doubt the tougher trend for prime cattle will play a role in sales next year.
But he's confident that the quality of the cattle will ensure they get the best of the rates going, wherever the market settles.
"The district's producers set their cattle for these sales in January and it is part of their annual program," he said.
"It's a traditional time for them to be selling in early January and the earlier in January, usually the better."
Mr Unthank said the annual drafts were the best calves out of producers' herds.
Second and third drafts would be marketed closer to autumn, but the best calves were reserved for the premier sales.
Wodonga's trifecta of sales will have about 3000 additional calves this year, which was due to two reasons, Mr Unthank said.
As producers got back into full production after a decade of drought, there were simply more to sell.
But it also reflected the fact that some cattle producers had turned away from breeding crossbreds for vealer production, and instead had turned to purebred cattle that would be marketed as weaners in the annual January sales.
Wodonga's prime position when it comes to selling cattle meant it was often a target for northern producers keen to restock, and Mr Unthank said that could happen again in the coming weaner sales.
"We are already getting the indication that prior buyers will be back again in January," Mr Unthank said.
"They may take lesser numbers than they have in the past but they will be here."
The Wodonga weaner sales begin on January 3 and conclude on January 18.