TheBeefSite.com - news, features, articles and disease information for the beef industry

News

Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

04 December 2009
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia.

South Australia (SA) weekly cattle summary

Similar Numbers

While numbers rose at the SA LE, Naracoorte’s yarding was reduced after the weaker prices paid the previous week. Naracoorte agents also yarded 1,149 weaners at the previous Thursday’s sale that sold mainly to South East agent orders, with most sales 5¢ to 10¢/kg lwt dearer than those being achieved in the saleyards.

However, despite the lower numbers coming into Naracoorte at this week’s prime market there are around 6,000 weaners for sale next week, with the steers being sold on Thursday 10th at 12.00 noon, and the heifers on Friday 11th starting at 9.30am. This will allow the buyers to get to Mt. Gambier’s large Friday store sale. After those sales there may not be many cattle left for sale in the South East despite the good rainfall received over the past weekend.

Mt. Gambier yarded a slightly larger yarding with young cattle quality slipping, while the grown steers and bullocks were in good quality runs. The SA LE’s quality improved and sold to erratic competition from the usual trade and processor buyers, with most sales cheaper in the early runs before improving in later sales. Feeder orders sourced vealer and yearling steers at generally lower rates with larger numbers in both categories being offered. Naracoorte’s quality was very mixed, although there were pockets of prime supplementary fed yearling steers and heifers that attracted the strongest competition from mainly Victorian wholesale buyers.

Millicent had a similar numbered yarding that featured many very good quality vealers that sold to solid mainly Victorian trade competition.

Erratic Trends

Vealer steers to the trade sold from 175¢ to 200¢ for the B muscled, and 162¢ to 188¢ for the C3 steers at rates generally 2¢ to 10¢/kg dearer. Feeder and restocker orders paid from 140¢ to 172¢, with some sales 3¢ cheaper, and others 1¢/kg dearer. Vealer heifers sold mainly to the trade between 145¢ and 182¢, with isolated sales to 195¢/kg. This left most heifers selling at rates 5¢ to 12¢/kg dearer, with the isolated sales higher. Yearling steers attracted solid feeder and trade inquiry, with some sales 1¢ to 4¢ cheaper, and others unchanged to 5¢/kg dearer. This tended to leave C3 sales 135¢ to 167¢, and C2’s 142¢ to 164¢/kg. Most yearling heifers were 1¢ to 7¢ dearer, with C3 sales mainly 145¢ to 156c, and the C4’s 135¢ to 146¢/kg.

Grown steers were 2¢ dearer, with heavy C5 bullocks 1¢ to 3¢ cheaper as most C3 to C5 sales ranged between 138¢ and 158¢, or around a 260¢/kg cwt average. Cow prices varied from 1¢ to 9¢ cheaper, and 1¢ to 5¢ dearer with most 3 to 5 score beef cows selling from 112¢ to 130.5¢, or in a 225¢ to 250¢/kg cwt price range.

Western Australia (WA) weekly cattle summary

Numbers up

With the commencement of the split sale at the Great Southern Saleyard, it was no surprise that overall supply lifted 44 per cent. November 2009 state throughput is down just on 9 per cent when compared to 2008 with both markets recorded less numbers. Compared to 2007 though, yardings were increased by 13 per cent. Midland recorded a slight increase with vealer numbers climbing as cows and bulls were limited, but it was the jump in the south that had the greatest impact on state throughput. It is typical that at this time of year vealer numbers increase as cow and calf produces look to sell before the onset of summer.

Overall quality was mixed as the young cattle were dominated by leaner 2 scores with only a few pens of better finished 3 scores available. A mixed run of grown steers and cows was offered although some of the heavy cows were in good condition.

As the vealer numbers have increased feeders and restockers secured the majority with just a small percentage purchased by the trade. Even though yearling supply was tight a similar trend was witnessed. Most of the grown steers, grown heifers and cows were purchased for slaughter. Light bulls meet live export enquiry with just one order active as medium and heavy bulls went to slaughter.

The tough local market conditions combined with the loss of a local processor has had an impact on yearling OTH rates, which however still remain above eastern states levels. All of the other direct to works rates remained unchanged even though the export grades are struggling for demand with the current high value of the $A.

Prices mixed

Vealers accounted for 43 per cent of the total yarding. Large numbers of medium weight vealer steers sold from 163¢ to 166¢/kg to sell close to firm. Medium and heave weights selling to feeders made between 158¢ to 165¢/kg. The small run that was purchased for slaughter topped at 199¢ to average 185¢/kg. Plain light vealer heifers in large numbers returning to the paddock lost 14¢ to 109¢ as backgrounders paid around 102¢/kg. Restockers and feeders were also active on yearling steers with most sales from 124¢ to 128¢ with restockers paying to 155¢/kg for the better bred lines. Heavy yearling steers to slaughter averaged 146¢ after selling to 153¢/kg. Light pastoral yearling heifers fell 5¢ to 73¢ as medium weights to feeders made from 108¢ to 125¢/kg.

Most of the grown steers were good quality medium weights to slaughter averaging 128¢ as heavy weights lost 6¢ to 127¢ with isolated sales to 151¢/kg. Medium weight D2 and D2 cows were mostly firm and ranged from 76¢ to 83¢ with the pastoral lines making close to 86¢/kg. Heavy cows to 100¢ as D3 and D4s were slightly dearer in averaging 86¢/kg. Light bulls to live export lifted 2¢ to 138¢ with sales to 155¢/kg.

New South Wales (NSW) weekly cattle summary

Numbers up

The prevailing dry and recent hot temperatures were major factors behind cattle throughput lifting 17 per cent at MLA’s NLRS reported markets. This trend of large numbers looks to be ongoing with many areas lacking stock water to hold cattle through summer. Total throughput for November this year totalled just over 92,000 head. Compared to November 2008, which had the lowest November throughput since 1996, numbers were up 28 per cent and on the five year average supply was up just on 1 per cent. When looking at the 10 year average, throughput for November 2009 was 8 per cent lower.

Quality has been slipping with lightweight and lean lines in each category increasing. This has given plenty of opportunity for feeders and restockers to reduce their prices. The generally small runs of finished cattle at each centre have meet steady demand from buyers with only very isolated sales of vealers over the 200¢/kg mark.

Highlighting the concern going forward, producers have been selling young cattle, which accounted 59 per cent of the cattle offered. Grown cattle were again dominated by cows and at Dubbo a near record number of 1,400 cows were offered.

Prices have been on a downhill slide with only the properly finished lines receiving strong competition. Vealers were mainly 4¢ to 10¢/kg cheaper while a handful of the heifers sold close to firm. Yearlings to feeders and restockers lost up to 10¢ as the C3 steers to slaughter lifted 2¢/kg. All states have been effected by the by the large numbers and generally weak demand. This can be witnessed in the decline in the EYCI which after Thursday’s markets was 291.5¢, a fall of 2.75¢/kg cwt on last week.

Price slide

Calves to restockers averaged 172¢ as the plainer lines made from 130¢ to 137¢/kg. Light and medium weight vealer steers to slaughter lost 4¢ to 8¢ as sales mostly ranged from 177¢ to 185¢/kg. While those returning to the paddock made from 163¢ to 173¢/kg. The large majority of the vealer heifers to slaughter sold from 163¢ to 179¢, as some to restockers averaged 150¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to restockers lost 10¢ to - 156¢ as large numbers of medium weights to feeders eased just 1¢ to - 157¢/kg. Heavyweights to feeders were fully firm at 156¢/kg. Medium weight C3s to slaughter averaged 160¢, after topping at 193.6¢/kg. The yearling heifers to feeders across all weight ranges sold from 140¢ to 142¢/kg. The medium and heavyweight C3s mostly made form 140¢ to 144¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feeders lifted 3¢ to - 153¢, as large numbers of heavyweight C3s sold close to firm around 150¢/kg. Good heavyweight C4 steers in small runs averaged152¢, as the bullocks mostly made from 147¢ to 150¢ with isolated sales to 160¢/kg. Lean medium weight D2 cows eased 2¢ to - 105¢, as the better 3 and 4 scores sold from 114¢ to 118¢/kg. Heavyweight cows made to 139¢ yet the D3 and D4s sold in the low 120¢/kg range.

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Quality improves

Unlike other states, a large majority of the cattle were in good to very good condition given the improved season across the state. In other states the recent hot weather and lack of stock water is forcing greater numbers of plain cattle onto the market.

While some isolated categories sold to a dearer trend for young cattle, average prices were generally lower. This was reflected across the eastern sates and in the EYCI. At the close of trade on Thursday, the EYCI was 291.50¢, which was another 2.75¢/kg lower than last week.

Fortunately, this was not the case for most grown steer and cow sales with prices unchanged to dearer. Part of this increase was created by shorter supply, and also better quality. Not all bullock sales were dearer, but price generally were up to 5¢/kg higher. As some cows are putting on plenty of condition, demand has increased for lean cows, best suiting the 90CL US market.

The disappointing part of all of this is the reduction in prices for vealers, particularly good quality vealers of high breeding standard. Normally, these cattle come onto to the market at this time however, an influx of boxed beef from interstate, is affecting prices. This boxed beef is quite a bit cheaper than good quality vealers, and retailers are not prepared to continue paying the big difference. Now that Christmas is only three weeks away, processors can now buy with confidence knowing that the end product will reach the end user with no shipping interruptions.

Prices just hanging on

A single sale of 197¢/kg for a light weight B muscle steer vealer at Wodonga set the states top price. However, away from this one sale, top quality B muscle vealers made between 162¢ and 190¢/kg. Plenty of reasonable to good quality C muscle vealers sold between 142¢ and 170¢/kg. The over conditioned vealers were heavily discounted. After some poor results over the past few weeks, a small increase in average prices was achieved for steers and heifers. Restockers assisted this outcome with a larger percentage purchase to return to the paddock or to be supplementary fed. Most steers made between 135¢ and 168¢ with some finished supplementary fed cattle reaching 181¢/kg. Prices for heifers continue to be 10¢ to 15¢/kg lower than their steer counterparts, making from 115¢ to 155¢/kg.

Producers who have kept their grown steers and bullocks too long received lower prices in a range of 138¢ to 156¢/kg for the better quality lines. The top of the beef cows made between 116¢ and 136¢/kg as the dairy cows and lean beef cows sold form 90¢ to 119¢/kg. The very plain and light cows made between 70¢ and 115¢/kg. The carcase weight price average for cows was 243¢, which was 2¢/kg higher.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Numbers skyrocket

Cattle numbers skyrocketed in the south of the state as the seasonal conditions continues to deteriorate. Physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS recorded a lift of close to 25 per cent with the largest increase in supply occurring at Dalby. Nevertheless a different trend was experienced in the north where numbers at Longreach fell significantly for the last sale of the year.

Overall quality at all centres is the main concern as unfavourable hot dry weather persists and this in turn is reflected in the standard of the majority of stock being penned.

Young cattle experienced mixed values with well bred lines receiving fair demand, while those in poor condition struggled to find much bidding from buyers, which put downward pressure on prices. The oversupply of calves in recent weeks has had an effect on prices and values slipped 7¢ and up to 14¢/kg on D muscle lines. Despite the seasonal conditions restocker's are still present in the market however most are becoming more selective. Feeder operators have displayed confidence in the future cattle market and have been able to absorb the large supply plus keep values fairly firm and lift prices on some lines suited to export slaughter.

Export slaughter lines of heavy steers and bullocks generally sold to a firm market. However as the week progressed and supply increased, top prices remained unchanged and the large selection allowed the average to ease 3¢ to 4¢/kg. Cows followed a very similar trend to the steers and bullocks to generally finish the week firm to 3¢/kg cheaper.

A firm to cheaper trend

Calves to the trade averaged 7¢ cheaper at 171¢ with sales to 186.2¢, and the occasional calf with show ring potential made to 219.2¢/kg. Vealer steers averaged 178¢ and sold to 184.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade lost 12¢ to average 156¢ a few sales to local butchers reaching 194.6¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed averaged 160¢ and medium weights 166¢ with sales to 178.2¢/kg. Heavy weight yearling steers to the trade made to a top of 172¢ with most close to 159¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to feed averaged 158¢ and medium weights averaged a similar amount and sold to 167.2¢/kg. Local trade descriptions lost 2¢ to average 157¢ the occasional sale to 180.2¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed averaged 5¢ better at 167¢ with one consignment making to 173.2¢/kg. Heavy steers to export slaughter made to 165.2¢ to average 156¢/kg. A good supply of heavy bullocks averaged 4¢ less at 157¢ and sold to 165.2¢/kg. A large sample of medium weight 2 score cows averaged 110¢ and 3 scores experienced no change at 119¢/kg. Good heavy cows mostly sold around 126¢ with the very occasional sale to 140¢/kg.

TheCattleSite News Desk


Partners


Seasonal Picks

Cattle Lameness and Hoofcare 3rd Edition