RECORD cattle sales in Gympie this week have prompted new hope of economic recovery across the region.
Sale prices and numbers found blue sky among the clouds, with total turnover thought to be well on the way towards the $2 million mark.
And clouds were a big part of the good news which had Gympie graziers grinning yesterday.
While much of the region remains drought declared, recovering pastures have been good news, even on properties still needing run-off for dams.
Leading auctioneer Dan Sullivan said he had never seen prices so good.
Even with a record or near-record yarding of 2440 head, the market had held up well.
"We were getting $2.24 or $5 a kg and the best of the heavy feeder steers were getting $2.70 a kg liveweight.
"I haven't sold cattle for that price ever," he said.
Mr Sullivan said it would not be long before some of this week's money was being spent in town.
There would be plenty of pent up demand.
The New Year had opened optimistically and "if the producers are making money, they will spend it."
Rural supply stores, contractors and retailers generally can expect some of the benefits.
Mr Sullivan said everything seemed suddenly to be going the industry's way.
Stock had quickly put on condition as rain and heat prompted new pasture growth.
Restocking was an important motivator for domestic buyers.
"World demand for beef, the dollar a bit lower and the weather - it's all come together," Mr Sullivan said.
"There seems to be a fair bit of confidence at the moment," he said.
Meatworks sales had also recovered significantly.
"Not so long ago, if you wanted to get cattle to the meatworks, you had to wait.
"Now you can get them in next week."
More rain is forecast for the Gympie region over the next week, despite the downgrading of possible cyclonic conditions.
Gympie can expect mixed conditions, with possible showers for most of the coming week.
Predicted temperatures should be around 20 to 27 degrees most days. Mostly sunny conditions are forecast for Sunday and Monday, however, with higher maximums, around 30 degrees.
To the west, the Goomeri forecast is for possible showers through to Friday, clearing to mostly sunny for the weekend, with temperatures between 16 and 29 degrees.