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Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

30 November 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

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

South Australia

Increased Yardings

Mixed restults have been realised on generally increased yarding. The SA LE's mixed runs sold to fluctuating competition from the usual trade and export buyers. Light and medium weight C2 yearling steers to feeder activity attracted dearer prices, albeit 178¢/kg being the top price. Most C3 yearling heifers were dearer, while export categories lost ground.

However, with so many cattle being sent direct-to-works from many regions, it has put pressure on South Eastern markets, with Naracoorte’s larger mixed quality yarding selling at lower levels. This was due to the limited input from most of the regular buyers with some only purchasing token numbers, while a couple merely spectated.

Feeder and restocker orders sourced more young cattle than normal as some prices became too hard to resist. Export categories lost further ground to limited export demand as carcase weight prices slipped to around 275¢/kg.

Mt. Gambier’s increased yarding of good quality runs followed the previous days market as all categories attracted a weaker trend. There were isolated sales that were slightly dearer when some protracted bidding lifted lightweight vealers steers to 217¢/kg. Further hot weather could lead to more cattle being offloaded as feed reserves start to dissipate.

Millicent’s larger yarding was not immune to the much lower prices, with only some prime extra heavy C4 Angus bullocks being dearer after the lower prices paid last week.

Retreating prices

The B-muscled vealer steers to wholesalers sold from 170¢ to 217¢, to be unchanged to 11¢/kg cheaper. Feeders and restockers sourced light and medium weight steers from 160¢ to 202¢, at prices varying from 18¢ cheaper and up to 14¢/kg dearer.

Vealer heifers to the trade are virtually unwanted as most sold from 136¢ to 185¢, with a B-muscled sale at 200¢/kg.

Yearling steers ranged between 135¢ and 183¢ to be 8¢ to 9¢/kg less. Feeders and restockers sourced increased numbers from 142¢ to 178¢/kg. Medium and heavy yearling heifers sold from 130¢ to 170¢ at prices 6¢ to 11¢/kg cheaper.

Feeder and restocker purchases were lower selling between 112¢ and 165¢/kg on light and medium weight heifers.

Grown steers and bullocks sold from 130¢ to 176¢ to be 4¢ to 10¢/kg cheaper, and averaging around 285¢/kg cwt. Most beef cows were 7¢ to 16¢ cheaper selling from 82¢ to 128¢/kg, or 180¢ to 245¢/kg cwt.


A boost in supply

A combination of dry weather and the annual shut down for the Christmas period now fast approaching saw supply continue to remain high. The Longreach selling centre conducted the final sale for the year and the third last sale in Dalby resulted in another large yarding. The Roma store sale went against the trend to fall by 28 per cent.

Quality remains mixed with large numbers of northern Brahman cross cattle included in the line-up at Roma and increased numbers of 3 score heavy steers and bullocks were penned at Dalby.

Buyer attendance was not as good as the previous week with noticeable less restockers present, however all the usual commission buyers were operating. Export buyer attendance was good with the return of all major export processes into the market.

Prices ease

Prices for young cattle continued to lower early in the week, however by mid-week prices turned around by 5¢/kg for the lightweight classes. Vealer heifers in the south of the state generally made close to 200¢ with some to local butchers reaching 215.2¢/kg.

Lightweight yearling steers to restockers averaged 196¢ with sales to 209.2¢, while large numbers of D muscle classes averaged 170¢/kg. Feeder descriptions generally sold to firm demand, nevertheless a drop in the overall standard of the heavyweights allowed average prices to ease by 1¢ to 181¢/kg.

Lightweight yearling heifers averaged 181¢, while the large supply of D muscle categories averaged in the 150¢ to 160¢/kg range. The better end of the heavy steers and bullocks continued to lose ground, to average around 4¢/kg less. Heavy steers averaged 174¢, and bullocks mostly sold around 175¢ with sales to 183.6¢/kg. Large numbers of 3 score heavy steers and bullocks lost 6¢ to average 163¢/kg.

Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 122¢, and 3 scores generally sold around 132¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to 163.6¢ with a fair sample at 145¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers hold

Throughput was steady on last week’s levels, despite some large fluctuations recorded across markets reported by MLA’s NLRS. Wagga recorded the largest increase of up to 27 per cent on last week as the dry spring weather continues, while CTLX also yarded 23 per cent more cattle with good numbers of grown cattle yarded.

Forbes and Scone also recorded increases of 11 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

The selling centres to record declines were Dubbo, back 25 per cent, while Casino yarded 23 per cent less and Tamworth decreased 21 per cent. Consignments at Singleton, Gunnedah and Inverell were relatively steady on last week.

Quality remains mixed

Quality across reported saleyards continues to be mixed as supplementary fed lines were scattered through Forbes, Singleton, Gunnedah and Casino. Plainer, secondary lines dominated yardings at Wagga and Tamworth. The usual buyers were in attendance across the majority of saleyards with some export and restocker buyers absent at Gunnedah, while there was extra interest from northern buyers for yearling cattle at Dubbo.

Prices continue to slip

Prices were generally cheaper across most categories despise some fluctuations due to quality. The majority of calves to restock orders lifted 10¢ on average to make 195¢, while medium vealer steers returning to the paddock averaged around 198¢/kg.

Vealer C3 heifers to slaughter sold 7¢ cheaper on average to make 186¢, while medium weight yearling steers to feed sold from 149¢ to 195¢/kg. Heavy C2 lines averaged 174¢, back 5¢/kg on average. Light yearling C2 heifers to slaughter slipped 11¢ to make 160¢, while medium weights to feed averaged around 156¢/kg for the better quality lines.

The bulk of the heavy grown steers were C3’s selling from 152¢ to 182¢, while light C3 grown heifers to slaughter topped at 168¢ to make 149¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to slaughter sold 3¢ cheaper on 117¢, while heavy D4 lines generally sold from 118¢ to 148¢/kg.


Numbers still climbing

Typically for this time of year, supply at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS climbed another 9 per cent with the largest state yarding since mid April 2012 being offered. Ballarat and Shepparton were the only centres to offer smaller numbers, while Wodonga continued to pen the largest numbers. When compared to the corresponding week last year, supply was larger, albeit by just 7 per cent.

The total percentage of young cattle increased to account for 36 per cent of the states yarding. There was an almost even split between the number of vealers and yearlings. Cows continue to be the single largest category offered, while grown steers and manufacturing steers were also well supplied. As has been the case in recent weeks, grown steers and cows combined to account for 55% for the state throughput.

Supply and quality impact price

With increasing numbers being offered direct-to-works and at physical markets, prices have continued to slip as buyers have not been as active. Young cattle were 2¢ to 10¢c/kg cheaper although greater losses were realised at some markets.

The largest falls though were suffered by cows and bulls with falls of 20¢/kg or more were not uncommon. This large fall has been due to the current high value of the A$ with markets for manufacturing products being heavily impacted.

The mixed quality offered has also played a part in the reduced prices. The leaner lines suiting restockers or feeders were prevalent at all markets, while there were also a number of centres that had some over conditioned stock penned.

Cheaper trend continues

The heavy B muscle vealer steers lost 4¢ to 11¢ with most selling from 185¢ to 191¢/kg as the C3s fell 8¢ to average 181¢/kg. Medium weight vealer heifers to the trade lost 9¢ as the heavy weights were dealt a fall of 18¢/kg.

Medium weight C3 yearlings to the trade eased 5¢ to average 177¢, while a large number of heavy C3s eased 3¢ to 175¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling heifers averaged 157¢ as a fair run of D3's sold closer to 146¢/kg.

Most of the heavy grown steers were 3¢ to 8¢/kg cheaper with most selling in the early 170¢/kg range. Bullocks also suffered similar losses to the grown steers with most selling from 165¢ to 167¢kg.

The medium weight beef cows were mostly 10¢ cheaper in ranging from 110¢ to 119¢, while the dairy lines were 10¢ to 20¢ cheaper with many sales falling under the 100¢/kg mark. Heavy beef cows made to 144.6¢ with most making 124¢ to 128¢/kg. Heavy dairy cows ranged from 100¢ to 110¢/kg.

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