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


MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

01 February 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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

New South Wales

Supply drops from widespread rainfall

Total throughput across the state declined significantly as the recent rainfall reduced yardings across most saleyards. Casino and Armidale were back by 22 per cent and 25 per cent respectively, while consignments at CTLX reduced by as much as 19 per cent.

Gunnedah and Scone reported significant reductions, while Inverell sale was cancelled due to insufficient numbers. Dubbo saleyards was the only selling centre to report an increase up 29 per cent as larger numbers of vealers were penned.

Quality lines remain limited

Secondary lines are still in large numbers across most categories, although the majority of cattle offered sold at dearer levels as supply was significantly reduced.

Restockers and feeders were competing for the limited lines available, influencing prices, although the inclusion of a few more northern restocker buyers at Dubbo also assisted in improved prices.

Prices increase

Prices increased across most categories as supply was limited across the state. Vealer steers to restock topped at 208¢ to average 191¢, while light vealer heifers to slaughter sold from 140¢ to 192¢/kg.

Medium weight heifers topped at 229¢ for the better quality lines to finish in 187¢/kg. Light yearling steers returning to the paddock averaged 188¢, while medium weight lines averaged 190¢/kg.

Medium yearling heifers to feeder buyers sold 12¢ dearer on 160¢, while processors paid from 145¢ to 225¢/kg. Medium weight grown steers to feed averaged 173¢, up 13¢, while light heifers to slaughter ranged from 141¢ to 180¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows sold from 102¢ to 129¢, back 8¢ on average, while D3 lines averaged 131¢/kg.


Numbers fall

Total consignments across Victoria were back 32 per cent at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS. Numbers at Pakenham reduced significantly due to the long weekend holiday, while yardings at Leongatha slipped 44 per cent.

Warrnambool eased 22 per cent with less export cattle penned than last week, while consignments at Camperdown and Colac were relatively unchanged. Wodonga was the only selling centre to report an increase in throughput, up 6 per cent with good numbers of trade and export cattle available.

Finished cattle scarce

Finished cattle are scattered throughout markets at Camperdown, Wodonga and Leongatha, although the secondary lines of yearlings and export cattle still dominate.

With throughput reduced this week restocker and feeder activity increased, with processor buyers from the north also keen to secure suitable cattle. Two extra trade buyers were present at Warrnambool, although not all buyers were operating at Camperdown and Colac.

Prices improve

Heavy weight vealer steers lifted 7¢ to average 185¢ while heavy weight C3 vealer heifers gained 11¢ to settle on 166¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling steers to feed lifted 10¢ to 161¢, while heavy weight lines to slaughter increased 4¢ to 169¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to processors lifted 4¢ to 142¢/kg.

Heavy weight grown steers to slaughter were 2¢ higher on 161¢, while bullocks gained 4¢ to 161¢/kg. Heavy weight grown heifers to slaughter were 2¢ higher on 143¢/kg. Medium weight cows to processors increased 8¢ to 116¢, while heavy cows were also 8¢ dearer to average 125¢/kg.


Flooding significantly restricts supply

The flooding rain across the eastern half of the state drastically reduced numbers at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS to just over 2,000 head compared to over 13,000 head the previous week.

With the rain tapering off into western districts both the Roma store and prime sale proceeded as usual with limited numbers. Most of the very small numbers of predominantly feeder and restocker classes at Dalby were on hand prior to the commencement of the rain. However almost all other selling centres were cancelled due to the wet weather and road closures.

Prices rise under tighter supply

A few restocker buyers were present at the Roma store sale and those that had received useful rain were eager to secure young lightweight cattle. Not all the usual commission buyers were present and there was only limited competition from export processor buyers.

The small number of buyers at the Dalby sale displayed an urgency to secure stock and lifted prices on yearling steers by 10¢ to 20¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock averaged 7¢ better at 196¢ with sales to 202.2¢, while a large number of D muscle classes at Dalby sold to feeder operators at 175.4¢/kg.

Restockers lifted prices on lightweight yearling heifers by 12¢ to average 173¢ with sales to 195.2¢/kg.

There was not enough good grown steers or bullocks yarded to give any market price indication.

However a few plain condition heavy steers sold to processors 2¢ dearer at 160¢ with sales to 166.2¢/kg. The only cows sold for the week were at Roma and medium weight 3 scores averaged 132¢ and sold to 140¢/kg.

The better heavy end of the cows improved in price by 7¢ to average 152¢ with sales to 157.2¢/kg. A fair number of lightweight bulls sold to restockers and processors in a range from 138¢ to 154¢/kg.

Western Australia

Tropical low brings solid falls to the north

Weather conditions across much of WA have stabilised over the past seven days, following on from several weeks of cyclonic weather. The southern Ag districts of WA recorded a week of fine, dry and very hot weather with no rainfall recorded.

The far north of WA continued to receive wide spread thunderstorm activity which has helped to improve seasonal conditions in this seasons “wet”. Feed supplies in the south continue to decline with an increase in supplementary feeding being reported. Early calving is also under way in the southwest.

Vealer prices higher

The long week holiday this week saw the cancellation of the southwest’s sale, while Muchea had considerably lower numbers penned with just in excess of 600 head sold. Mt Barker’s weaner sale was lower with agents now deciding to end the two day sales format at this centre at the end of next week.

There was an increase in Mt Barker’s trade sale numbers with overall combined numbers for the week well down on the previous week. The southwest is also just about reached the end of this year’s vealer selling season with perhaps one more purpose weaner sale to be held.

Both trade yarding s were predominately made up of cows with trade weight yearling supplies once again fair. Heavy weight steers, heifers and bulls all remained in very limited supply.

Vealer values again rebounded after the weaker demand seen several weeks again under an improved feeder and restocker demand, while lightweight vealer steers continued to record a selective live export demand.

Trade weight yearlings recorded a similar local trade and retailers demand with similar values subsequently recorded. Heavy weight steer and heifer demand remains conservative from the processing sector who continues to report solid booking levels on a direct to works basis.

The cow market continued to constrict once again under a more conservative processor demand, with this also the case in heavy weight bull categories.

South Australia

Reduced numbers

The short trading week due to the Australia Day long weekend saw the south east supply the majority of numbers, with the SA LE to resume next Monday.

Producers who have yarded cattle this week on much smaller numbers have generally been rewarded with dearer prices, which also could be due to the lower priced sales the previous week.

While there was limited SA and Victorian trade and export competition at Naracoorte, the smaller numbers and some good quality cattle led to stronger demand. Feeder and restocker orders were also active at improved prices for the young cattle, while also sourcing plain quality 1 and 2 score beef cows up to 100¢/kg.

Supplementary fed yearlings attracted solid wholesale competition up to 166¢/kg for the steers and 160¢/kg for the heifers. Cow prices were generally dearer, albeit with poor quality beef cows not attracting any restocker activity being cheaper.

Mt. Gambier’s numbers retreated on a generally good quality yarding over all categories that tended to sell at improved prices, with only isolated sales being cheaper.

Medium weight B-muscled vealer steers topped at 200¢, while grown steers and bullocks also attracted strong demand with a couple of additional orders assisting. Cow and heifer prices also received a boost with a South East processor back sourcing both categories.

Millicent resumed after missing the previous week, with a mixed quality yarding of mainly young cattle selling to steady trade and export competition.

Improved prices

It has been a week of improved prices and probably due to a 50% drop in cattle numbers in the South East.

The B-muscled vealer steers to Victorian wholesale competition sold from 150¢ to 207¢, with the medium weights 9¢ dearer and the few lightweights 6¢/kg cheaper. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 and B2 steers from 128¢ to 168¢, or 1¢ to 6¢/kg more.

Vealer heifers followed a similar pattern as most to the trade attracted prices from 125¢ to 195¢ at prices 3¢ to 11¢ higher, with only lightweight B-muscled sales 10¢/kg lower.

Yearling steer C3 and B2 heavyweights sold from 155¢ to 166¢ to be 10¢/kg dearer. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweights sold from 138¢ to 160¢, with the heavyweights 10¢ to 12¢/kg dearer.

Grown steer and bullocks sold from 145¢ to 170¢ to be 22¢ dearer for some medium weights, and 8¢ to 13¢/kg more for the heavyweights, or 275¢ to 300¢/kg cwt.

The stronger demand for the 2 to 5 score medium and heavy beef cows led to most sales being unchanged to 8c dearer selling between 82¢ and 126¢/kg, and generally 185¢ to 235¢/kg cwt. Restocker purchases ranged from 50¢ to 106¢/kg.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Our Sponsors


Seasonal Picks

Animal Welfare in EPS - 5m Books