Restocker cattle categories have now jumped more than 70 cents a kilogram liveweight in the past four weeks on the back of rain, with the past week delivering widespread falls across eastern and central Australia and forecasts for above-average chances of more to come. Young cattle prices have lifted well over a dollar carcase weight. In fact, this morning they are pushing the $1.50 mark for the four-week period. Agents and analysts are reporting sentiment has definitely turned, with many producers now confident they have grass past Christmas. That's resulting in both stock being held back and restockers re-entering the market. In the south, agents are also reporting a desire to 'get in early' to avoid hotter northern competition for weaners early next year. The message from Meat &amp; Livestock Australia's team of market analysts at the organisation's flagship Updates event, held in Bendigo, was that there is now more upside in the price outlook than downside. "There are parts of the country in drought, no question, but on a general basis we are nowhere near in as bad a situation as we were in 2019," Ripley Atkinson said. "The reason why prices went so low, even though supply was lower than in 2019, was the confidence factor. "When you take producer confidence out, you effectively remove a buyer from the market. "But what we've seen is how quickly that confidence factor can turn around. We've now had rain up into Queensland and through Victoria and demand has lifted significantly." Yarding sizes are falling, not only because producers are opting to hang onto stock but wet conditions have reduced the ability to get cattle to saleyards in some areas and even seen some sales cancelled. Queensland has led the charge on smaller supply over the past week. MLA's Tim Jackson said while prices have lifted across most categories, lighter, younger cattle rose more than average. In Victoria, numbers on offer have been at similar levels to previous weeks but the across-the-board price rises were still seen. Kyneton agent Kieran McGrath, McGrath Rodwells, described that as a sign of the strength in the turn of sentiment. In prime markets, prices had jumped 10 to 20c/kg over the week for most categories - although bullocks were stable - and weaners in store sales lifted 35c/kg, he reported. "Those people who were holding back because of the El Nino talk are moving again now," Mr McGrath said. Mr Jackson said the wet conditions over the past week did not occur in Western Australia, which meant cattle prices were much more subdued than prices on the east coast. The Western Young Cattle Indicator held firm. "The discount on the WYCI is the reverse of the trend that has occurred through most of this year, as the WYCI has tended to maintain a modest premium," Mr Jackson said. Mr Atkinson made the point that even with a 15 to 25pc improvement in prices from here, the cattle market would still only just be getting back to the ten-year average. He also said a good sign was that processors looked to be coping with the higher numbers coming through and certainly there were plenty of plans for expansion in that sector, provided labour could support it. "We've seen a 25pc increase in the average weekly kill compared to this time last year. That equates to about 25,000 head extra we are processing on average per week," Mr Atkinson said. "We are expecting a 17pc, or 1.1m, increase in total cattle slaughter this year compared to last. "That's a significant lift but keep in mind that 2021 and 2022 were consecutively the lowest slaughter rates of cattle in close to four decades, so that also still won't take us back to long-term averages."