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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

22 February 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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

South Australia

Smaller mixed quality yardings

There were smaller mixed quality yarding at all saleyards this week. Apart from only isolated sales of young cattle, some cows and bulls have attracted improved prices.

All other categories lost ground despite some very good quality cattle being available.

The SA LE’s reduced yarding featured very mixed quality runs that contained only a few cattle suitable for the trade. Medium weight C3 yearling heifers were attracting the strongest demand, while most other young cattle categories were up to 16¢/kg less.

Medium weight cow prices were dearer, while the D3 heavyweights were 2¢/kg less.

Numbers fell to 1,500 head at Naracoorte where mixed quality runs were greeted by some very lacklustre bidding by some of the regular SA and Victorian trade and export buyers. One highlight was the strong processor and restocker competition for a large run of A and B-muscled bulls that lifted prices by up to 15¢/kg.

There were increased numbers of beef and pastoral bred 1 and 2 score cows that failed to sell above 82¢/kg.

Mt. Gambier had just over 1,500 cattle in mixed quality runs that sold quite erratically, with most young cattle and well bred Simmental cows attracting improved prices.

However, the grown steers and bullocks, despite being in good quality runs, lost ground as all sales fell back below 175¢ for C3 medium weights, and mainly under 165¢/kg for prime steers and bullocks.

Fluctuating trends

The B-muscled vealer steers to Victorian wholesale competition sold from 180¢ to 214¢ at prices 6¢/kg dearer. Feeders and restockers sourced C1 and C2 light and medium weights from 122¢ to 174¢, or 1¢ to 10¢/kg less.

Vealer heifers sold mainly between 145¢ and 213¢, with lightweights 4¢ less and the medium weights up to 17¢/kg dearer. Yearling steer B-muscled and C3 mainly heavyweights sold from 145¢ to 194¢ at prices 5¢ to 7¢/kg less.

The C1 to C3 medium and heavy steers to feeders and restocker attracted prices from 100c¢ to 185¢, with some sales 9¢/kg less and C3 heavyweights dearer. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweights sold from 133¢ to 183¢/kg at basically unchanged prices.

Grown steers and bullocks sold generally from 143¢ to 175¢ that left the medium weights 11¢ cheaper and the heavyweights 3¢ to 6¢ less, and most selling from 255¢ to 310¢/kg cwt. Beef 3 to 5 score cows sold from 80¢ to 126¢ at prices unchanged to 5¢ cheaper, and mainly 165¢ to 235¢/kg cwt. Very plain quality cows sold below 95¢/kg.


Yardings decrease

A return to wet weather across parts of the state reduced numbers at physical markets by 44 per cent. Heavy rain in the north cancelled the Longreach sale and numbers at Roma store sale returned to normal after rainfall in the local area.

Useful falls of rain across the Downs reduced numbers at Dalby to less than half of the previous weeks 10 year high. Buyer attendance at markets was generally good and in most places included extra restocker buyers.

Apart from some well presented lines in the young cattle sections the standard of the remainder was very mixed. Heavy steers and bullocks were scarce at markets early in the week, however as the week progressed some fair runs of good quality lines were penned.

Most of the cows were in the 4 score range with just a few consignments of plain condition classes.

Prices improve

Restockers lifted prices by 11¢ on suitable calves with most at 207¢, while a couple with show ring potential sold out to 314.2¢/kg. A large sample of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock 2¢ better at 196¢ with a few consignments to 214.2¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged in the high 170¢ range, while the largest numbers returned to the paddock at 183¢/kg. Heavy yearling steers to feed met improved competition in places to average 175¢ while the lift in the standard of the slaughter categories saw average prices 17¢ better at 180¢ with the occasional sales to 198¢/kg.

The better end of the lightweight yearling heifers sold close to 170¢ while D muscle lines continue to be in the largest numbers with most sales around 160¢/kg.

Heavy steers averaged 181¢ and sold to 190¢, while the bullock portion made to a top of 194.2¢ to average 176¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 1¢ dearer at 124¢, and 3 scores improved 2¢ to average 132¢/kg. A fair supply of good heavy cows made to 162.2¢ on a number of occasions with most 2¢ dearer at 150¢/kg.


Numbers retreat

Total Victorian throughput was back by 25 per cent as the majority of the saleyards recorded a decline, as reported by MLA’s NLRS. Leongatha and Wodonga was back 34 per cent with fewer bullocks penned, while yearling numbers remained the same at Leongatha. Bairnsdale, Ballarat and Camperdown all declined marginally after a bigger than usual yarding reported last week.

Pakenham was the only saleyard to record an increase, up 19 per cent, as larger numbers of unfinished cattle were yarded.

Unfinished lines continue

Unfinished lines are still dominating most yardings, with restocker and feeder buyers reluctant to purchase secondary lines with prices generally cheaper. Colac and Pakenham however had increased interest in calves and light yearling lines, while processors active at Warrnambool, Wodonga and Leongatha were quite lively at times.

Processors were present at all other selling centres, albeit competing at reduced levels, as the quality offered tended to be the determining factor behind prices.

Prices firm to slightly cheaper

Heavy B muscled vealer steers lifted 2¢ on average making 194¢, while C3 muscled lines to slaughter settled on 190¢, up 7¢/kg. The majority of the heavy vealer heifers to slaughter sold from 140¢ to 210¢/kg.

Large numbers of heavy yearling steers were offered this week with feed buyers paying from 140¢ to 168¢, while processors paid from 130¢ to 195¢/kg for C3 and 4 muscled lines. Medium yearling D2 heifers to slaughter were unchanged on last week making 119¢, while heavy D and C 3 lines to process ranged from 130¢ to 178¢/kg.

The better quality heavy grown steers averaged 172¢, back 3¢, while D3 muscled lines sold from 130¢ to 175¢/kg. The 600-700kg bullocks sold 6¢ cheaper on 166¢/kg. Medium D1 dairy cows were relatively unchanged on 89¢, while D3 lines to slaughter were steady on 112¢/kg.

Heavy D1 dairy cows averaged 102¢, while D4 lines generally sold from 102¢ to 132¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers overall decline across the state

Even with the continuing dry conditions across the southern and western regions numbers failed to attain levels recorded the previous week at all MLA NLRS reported saleyards. Overall percentage wise numbers slipped 20 per cent.

Wagga eased 15 per cent as Gunnedah and Inverell remained less affected to yard similar numbers week-on-week. The northern Casino sale lost 40 per cent mainly due to wet weather as CTLX Carcoar eased much the same. Forbes, Dubbo and Tamworth together with the Hunter markets all recorded lower numbers.

Plainer younger cattle continue to dominate supply

Large percentages of unfinished younger cattle continue to enter the market as quality at most sales remains on the plainer side and more suited to restocker and feeder competition.

Vealers continue to dominate the northern markets as the majority fell into the lighter categories. The southern and central tablelands sales together with the Forbes and New England selling centres generally report a mixture of breed and quality.

The Hunter markets report plainer pens together with some prime well-muscled younger vealers and yearlings suitable for the butcher trade. Due to the dryer conditions restocker and feeder competition weakened marginally on average over the state.

Competition overall weakened

Most markets reported younger cattle at cheaper prices with the plainer quality contributing in places. The best of the prime conditioned well-muscled vealers to the butchers still sold into the 230c/kg range as the lighter weighted steers to restockers averaged 190c/kg.

Yearling steers sold cheaper although the better bred drafts to restockers reached 200c, before averaging 176c/kg. Yearling heifers overall sold to stronger competition with some markets reporting a lift in quality.

Steers and bullocks on average lost 3c to 4c/kg with the cow market also selling cheaper. The best to the processors reached 152c as the overall average for the state averaged around 120.6c/kg.

Western Australia

Lower yardings

The second one day sale at Mt barker saw a considerably lower total yarding sold of 1,538 cattle. The supplies of trade and heavy weight steers and heifers were considerably lower; weaner supplies were fair with good supplies of cows again available.

Young cattle prices lift despite plain yardings

Trade weight yearling quality was average across all weight categories. Steer sales remained firm selling at 133¢ to 170¢/kg averaging around 158¢/kg while both the trade and feeder heifers sold from 130¢ to 148¢/kg.

Most of the weaner classes regained the losses recorded last week as steer sales in excess of 330kg lwt lifted 14¢ selling from 146¢ to 189¢/kg. Medium weights were firm to range from 155¢ to 188¢/kg while lightweights slipped 5¢ to average 165¢/kg on mixed quality offering.

Heavier weaner heifers recovered 15¢ to sell from 140¢ to 172¢ averaging 167¢/kg. Medium weights were 10¢ dearer to range from 145¢ to 170¢ with lightweights up 6¢ to average 150¢/kg.

Export prices firm to slightly dearer

Export weight steer quality was lower this week although prices were generally firm to range from 126¢ to 149¢/kg averaging 143¢/kg. The few heavy weight heifers to slaughter sold from 110¢ to 120c/kg.

Heavy weight prime cow sales were marginally dearer making 100¢ to 122¢ to average 113¢/kg. Over conditioned cows sold from 90¢ to 105¢ with plainer conditioned lots making from 90¢ to 113¢/kg to both the trade and restocker buyers. Heavy weight bull sales fell 10¢ under weaker trade competition while beef breeds made from 80¢ to 107¢ to average 94¢/kg.

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