Top quality cattle from John and Jane Ellingham of Waitahora made top dollar at last week's Dannevirke cattle sale.

"It was a very strong sale and the $1700 a head we got for a pen of two and a half year-old steers was a good result," Mr Ellingham said.

Overall prices paid were up a little bit on last year.

All the stock entered in the sale were good quality and Mr Ellingham said the reasonably good grass cover allowed him to enter good lines.

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"The hot and humid weather helped to get their coats off and they looked great," he said.

As well as the two and a half year-old cattle in the sale, the Ellinghams also had 18-month-old stock up, which also attracted good prices.

The Ellinghams buy stock in and weight-gain them, aiming for this particular Dannevirke sale.

"I've got to give credit to my stock agent, Roger Watts, he does his job well," Mr Ellingham said.

"Roger has been working with me since way back in the mid-1990s and you build up a rapport. I stay at home and farm and he's out there looking for good cattle for me. We're certainly a great combination."

Mr Ellingham said his success comes down to the young stock he purchases through Mr Watts.

"I'm just the caretaker and it helps if you buy good stock to start with," he said.

Buyers at the sale also had confidence in the top lines offered, with many farming in a big way. The Ellinghams run 400 head of cattle, including 200 yearling bulls on their property.

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Cattle sale:
* 559 steers were entered in the Dannevirke sale, with 555 sold.
* The average price was $1458.72 a head.
* Four bulls averaged $810.
* 583 store cattle were put up for sale, 559 sold, at an average price of $1454.08.