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Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

08 March 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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

South Australia

Reduced yarding

Another week of hot dry weather saw more cattle offloaded. This led to smaller mixed quality yardings with the price gap widening on well finished stock and the plainer quality not attracting feeder and restocker activity losing further ground.

The SA LE’s numbers retreated and sold to lower trade and export competition from the usual buyers due to a limited numbers of well finished cattle available. Feeder orders were also circumspect due to the increased numbers of C2 light and medium weight steers available and sold to easing prices. The cows were generally cheaper to processors and restockers.

Naracoorte’s slightly larger yarding featured mixed quality runs that tended to sell quite erratically, this was due to the varying quality that limited a number of regular SA and Victorian buyers from making purchases.

Feeder, restocker and a couple of processors orders were quite active over a wide range of weights and quality of young cattle, 1 and 2 score beef cows and quite a few bulls.

Mt. Gambier’s smaller mixed quality runs sold quite erratically with good quality grown steers attracting solid SA and Victorian export competition, while vealer heifer prices varied from 30¢ to 40¢/kg per pen lot despite being of similar quality.

Feeder and restocker orders were also active as some prices became too hard to resist. Beef cows sold at basically unchanged prices, while the 1 and 2 score Friesian cows were up to 15¢/kg cheaper.

Varying quality

B-muscled vealer steers in limited numbers of Victorian wholesalers sold from 185¢ to 219¢ at prices 5¢ to 17c/kg less. The C-muscled sales were 3¢ to 5¢ lower on small numbers that sold from 155¢ to 185¢/kg.

Feeder and restocker C1 and C2 purchases ranged between 129¢ and 179¢, or 1¢ to 18¢/kg lower. Vealer heifer C3 and C2 sales ranged from 132¢ to 216¢ that left most sales anywhere from 2¢ to 40¢ less, with only C2 restocker purchases being 2¢/kg dearer. Yearling steer C3 heavyweights sold from 130¢ to 202¢, or 7¢/kg more.

Feeder purchases of C2 medium weights were from 114¢ to 178¢ or 9¢/kg dearer. Yearling heifer C3 medium and heavy sales were unchanged to 3¢ dearer selling from 140¢ to 182¢, with a B3 supplementary fed sale at 200¢/kg.

Grown steers sold between 150¢ and 180¢ at prices 3¢ to 8¢ dearer for the heavyweights, and averaging close to 300¢/kg cwt. The C-muscled grown heifers sold from 128¢ to 165¢/kg on increased numbers. The 2 to 5 score beef cows to processors sold from 96¢ to 137¢, or 200¢ to 250¢/kg cwt.

New South Wales

Rainfall improves seasonal outlook

The promised rainfall finally arrived and at this time of year will ensure a good autumn and following rain will help for a better winter outlook. Percentage wise numbers slipped 10 per centweek-on-week. Wagga gained numbers compared to the previous rain affected market as Forbes and Gunnedah supply eased together with Inverell.

CTLX Carcoar lost consignments as the Hunter markets also struggled attracting adequate numbers as seasonal conditions improve across both areas. The northern Casino sale reported marginally fewer numbers as Dubbo eased back by over 1000 head compared to the last sale.

Quality overall continues to improve

Although plainer unfinished cattle continue to enter the market, on average most MLA NLRS markets reported an improvement in quality. Lot feeder and restockers continue to compete strongly on suitable pens as the younger heifer categories continue to sell to strong competition.

Vealers dominate the northern markets with the majority falling into the lighter categories as yearlings and cows were well supplied across most markets. Heavy steers and bullocks at the moment seem to be limited in supply.

Any prime vealer or yearlings suitable for butcher and trade orders around all MLA NLRS reported markets continue to sell at a premium. A lift in quality together with an improvement in seasonal conditions throughout the state continues to improve values across most weights and grades.

Competition overall strengthened

NSW markets reported younger cattle at dearer trends with quality contributing in places. The best of the prime conditioned well-muscled vealers to the butchers sold up to 238¢/kg at the Hunter markets.

The estimated 200kg plus vealer steers and heifers returning to the paddock and selling to processor orders averaged 200¢ to 205¢/kg at the northern centres. Yearling steers to feeder and restocker orders are now selling into the 190¢ to 200¢ range as the better bred heifer portion to the same orders topping at 180¢/kg.

Heavy steers and bullocks to slaughter improved 5¢ with the best younger pens at some markets now selling around the 190¢/kg range. Cows mainly sold to a dearer trend with values 5¢ to 8¢ dearer as the best heavy weights to the processors sold into the early to mid-150¢/kg range. Heavy weight well-muscled bulls continue to sell well at most state markets.

Victoria

Supply increased

Victorian cattle supply as reported by MLA’s NLRS lifted 14 per centweek-on-week. Pakenham yarded 36 per centmore cattle, while Shepparton supply was up by as much as 39%. Warrnambool throughput was 17 per centhigher, while increased numbers of secondary lines of yearling and grown cattle were yarded at Wodonga. Consignments declined across the remainder of the markers at Ballarat, Bairnsdale, Camperdown, and Leongatha.

Plainer quality

All the regular buyers were present at most markets, however restocker interest was limited. There were increased supplies of plainer yearlings and grown cattle at Wodonga. There was a significant lift in quality for vealers at Bairnsdale which helped to push prices upwards.

There was a good selection of cows at Warrnambool, with the majority being Friesians. A highlight of Colac market was the offering of some very good steers and bullocks. There was strong competition at Shepparton and Pakenham for beef and dairy cows.

Young cattle dearer

Heavy vealer steers were 5¢ higher on 196.3¢, while heavy weight vealer heifers were to slaughter were 6¢ dearer on 180.5¢/kg. Heavy weight yearling steers lifted 4¢ to 183.9¢, while heavy weight yearling heifers were 6¢ higher on 171.3¢/kg.

Heavy weight steers to slaughter were 3¢ dearer on 176.8¢, while medium weight grown heifers were 2¢ lower on 140.1¢/kg. Medium weight manufacturing dairy steers were 16¢ higher on 140¢/kg. Medium weight dairy cows lifted 1¢ to 100¢, while heavy weight cows to slaughter gained 4¢ to average 132.5¢/kg.

Queensland 

Numbers retreat due to rain

Flooding rain across parts of the state resulting in road closures severely impacted on supply. Numbers at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS fell by 46 per centwith the largest impact on supply occurring in the south-east corner of the state.

The Moreton sale was cancelled due to flooding in the local area, while Dalby experienced a 72 per centdrop in numbers due to a number of road closures. However supply at Longreach and the Roma prime sale remained very close to the previous weeks levels.

The usual panel of export buyers was present and operating at most markets along with a fair number of feeder operators and restocker buyers.

Young cattle quality still plain

There was a large variation in quality with a huge number of Brahman cross cattle from north-west Queensland and Northern Territory dominating the selling pens at the Roma store sale. The standard of the small number of young cattle at markets on the downs was also mixed, while the short supply of heavy steers bullocks and cows was generally good.

Lack of supply helps prices lift

A good selection of vealer heifers at Warwick experienced stronger competition from butchers and processors and average prices lifted by 16¢ to 199¢ with the occasional pen reaching 210.2¢/kg.

Lightweight yearling steers to restockers made to 222¢ in places with most of the better quality lines over 200¢/kg. A good sample of lightweight yearling heifers at Dalby improved by 12¢ to average 185¢ with sales to 191.2¢/kg.

Certified grainfed heavy steers to export slaughter at Dalby made to 192.2¢ while the bullock portion supplementary fed made to 189.2¢ with the remainder around 184¢/kg. Full mouth bullocks supplementary fed also at Dalby averaged 181¢/kg.

Good heavy cows at Roma prime sale found good competition and improved in value by 4¢ to 5¢ to average 154¢ with some to 165¢/kg.

South Australia

Reduced yarding

Another week of hot dry weather saw more cattle offloaded. This led to smaller mixed quality yardings with the price gap widening on well finished stock and the plainer quality not attracting feeder and restocker activity losing further ground.

The SA LE’s numbers retreated and sold to lower trade and export competition from the usual buyers due to a limited numbers of well finished cattle available. Feeder orders were also circumspect due to the increased numbers of C2 light and medium weight steers available and sold to easing prices. The cows were generally cheaper to processors and restockers.

Naracoorte’s slightly larger yarding featured mixed quality runs that tended to sell quite erratically, this was due to the varying quality that limited a number of regular SA and Victorian buyers from making purchases. Feeder, restocker and a couple of processors orders were quite active over a wide range of weights and quality of young cattle, 1 and 2 score beef cows and quite a few bulls.

Mt. Gambier’s smaller mixed quality runs sold quite erratically with good quality grown steers attracting solid SA and Victorian export competition, while vealer heifer prices varied from 30¢ to 40¢/kg per pen lot despite being of similar quality.

Feeder and restocker orders were also active as some prices became too hard to resist. Beef cows sold at basically unchanged prices, while the 1 and 2 score Friesian cows were up to 15¢/kg cheaper.

Varying quality

B-muscled vealer steers in limited numbers of Victorian wholesalers sold from 185¢ to 219¢ at prices 5¢ to 17c/kg less. The C-muscled sales were 3¢ to 5¢ lower on small numbers that sold from 155¢ to 185¢/kg.

Feeder and restocker C1 and C2 purchases ranged between 129¢ and 179¢, or 1¢ to 18¢/kg lower. Vealer heifer C3 and C2 sales ranged from 132¢ to 216¢ that left most sales anywhere from 2¢ to 40¢ less, with only C2 restocker purchases being 2¢/kg dearer.

Yearling steer C3 heavyweights sold from 130¢ to 202¢, or 7¢/kg more. Feeder purchases of C2 medium weights were from 114¢ to 178¢ or 9¢/kg dearer. Yearling heifer C3 medium and heavy sales were unchanged to 3¢ dearer selling from 140¢ to 182¢, with a B3 supplementary fed sale at 200¢/kg.

Grown steers sold between 150¢ and 180¢ at prices 3¢ to 8¢ dearer for the heavyweights, and averaging close to 300¢/kg cwt. The C-muscled grown heifers sold from 128¢ to 165¢/kg on increased numbers. The 2 to 5 score beef cows to processors sold from 96¢ to 137¢, or 200¢ to 250¢/kg cwt.

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