Hitting specifications was vital to achieving a good price in cattle markets as the market felt the impact of deadweight prices dropping from January to spring.
But McCartneys chairman Clive Roads said there was still a good trade if people had cattle which hit the specifications.
He said: “A buyer said to me, if you were going to buy a suit, do you buy one that fits or one that is three sizes too big? You buy the one you want.
“I am not saying it is easy. Every animal is different and is a different weight and a different grade.”
And the strict specifications had also filtered through to store markets. Chris Armstrong, an auctioneer at Hexham mart, said: “People are marketing cattle sooner to allow finishers to handle the cattle and feed the cattle, so they know they can hit targets.”
For store cattle, it was a fairly slow start to the year but the market was now more buoyant.
“It was down to the shorter fodder and straw going into winter. As we got into later parts people thought we have enough, we can get out and buy.”
Mr Armstrong said Hexham mart had seen an encouraging March although values did not achieve those seen last year.
He said: “Everybody was fairly philosophical about it. They were quietly content.”
He added on the backdrop of the finished price in winter, buyers had a degree of caution, particularly for bullocks.
Mr Roads added the mood at the mart was still apprehensive, as everybody waited on the outcome of Brexit.
“You do not know what the rules and regulations are going to be. Until then, it is basically business as usual. You have got to get on with what you are doing.”