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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

05 April 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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


Numbers decline

Cattle numbers were significantly lower after the previous two weeks of very large sales. The absence of the Monday markets due to the Easter break and some more rain across the east of the state also impacted on supply.

Quality continues to be mixed and once again stock from districts across western Queensland dominated the Roma store sale. Export slaughter classes of heavy grown steers at most markets across the state reduced to a few hundred head, and for two weeks in a row only a very small selection of bullocks were penned.

The supply of cows remained very similar to the previous week. Buyer attendance in the young cattle sections was generally good and in places extra restocked buyers were operating however the presence of export buyers was erratic.

Young cattle prices firm to slightly dearer

Young cattle at markets on Tuesday experienced a wide variation in price with light and medium weight yearling steers at the Roma store sale only meeting limited competition, while vealer heifers to local butchers at Warwick received strong support.

However by midweek prices turned around for a number of classes. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock improved up to 14¢/kg and across all markets averaged 185¢/kg, while D muscle lines averaged 158¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling steers to feed generally met firm demand, and heavy feeders experienced a small improvement of 2¢/kg in places to average 164¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to processors and restockers averaged 2¢ to 8¢/kg better to average 161¢ and 169¢ respectively, while D muscle lines struggled to average 140¢/kg.

The small selection of heavy grown steers to export slaughter averaged 169¢ with sales to 174.2¢/kg. The limited supply of bullocks averaged 166¢ and sold to 171.2¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 110¢ and made to 119.2¢/kg. Good heavy cows mostly sold around 134¢ with sales to 141.2¢/kg.

New South Wales

Shorter working week continues to affect supplies

Another shorter week after the Easter break caused the early Monday markets of Wagga, Forbes and Tamworth to be cancelled. The latter markets nearly made up the shortfall as percentage wise, numbers slipped 1 per cent week on week.

Consignments lifted 35 per cent at CTLX Carcoar as the northern Casino sale produced double the number as Scone remained similar, while Gunnedah lost 12 per cent week on week. Dubbo market sold 2,700 cattle with the previous market cancelled due to the holiday break.

Quality continues to be mixed

Vealer numbers lifted throughout the state with double the amount in the heifer category yarded. Markets reported a mixed quality offering as 75 per cent of yearling steers and around 50 per cent of yearling heifers returned to the paddock or sold to lot feeder orders.

Prime conditioned grown steers and bullocks continue to be scarce around MLA NLRS sales as only 250 were presented. Cow numbers eased 30 per cent compared to the previous week with the cancelled Monday markets contributing. Restocker competition was limited at most markets as large percentages went to processor orders.

Prices sold to a mixed trend

The majority of markets reported younger cattle selling cheaper for the steer portion as the heifers improved in value. Steer vealers to restockers slipped 8¢ to average 183¢ as the heifer portion to the trade gained 12¢ averaging 167¢/kg.

Prime conditioned younger cattle to butcher and trade orders sold at a premium throughout the state. Yearling steers to feeder and restocker orders lost 6¢ as yearling heifers to the same orders remained 2¢/kg either side of firm. Heavy weight steers to slaughter lost 4¢/kg however some markets reported a dearer trend.

The older heifers sold at similar values week on week. Cows mainly sold to stronger competition to improve 4¢ to 6¢/kg and more in places. The plainer 2 scores averaged 105¢ as the better covered heavy weights topped at 140¢ for an overall average around the 115¢/kg range.

South Australia

Smaller Yardings

With only the South East holding markets this week there have been smaller numbers yarded at Naracoorte and Mt. Gambier, with Millicent’s numbers similar after the two latter markets have had a two weeks break.

Naracoorte’s slightly smaller mixed quality yarding led to limited trade competition for the young cattle that allowed stronger feeder and restocker activity at generally dearer levels, while trade prices fluctuated.

There was strong demand for the smaller yarding of cows at slightly dearer levels. Only a small number of C-muscled vealer steers were sourced by the trade, while feeder and restocker orders purchased the majority at dearer levels.

The B muscled supplementary fed yearling steers sold up to 201¢, with a single heifer at 200¢/kg. Most beef cows were unchanged to 4¢ dearer, with a small numbered pen of prime pastoral breds at 126¢/kg.

Mt. Gambier’s smaller yarding sold quite erratically for the young cattle, while the grown steer, C3 grown heifers and good quality cows attracted strong competition. However, plain quality dairy cows were cheaper as they attracted little interest.

There was strong demand for A and B-muscled vealers, with any well finished yearlings also selling at improved prices. Grown steers and bullocks sold up to 192¢, with most good quality cows selling over 120¢/kg.

Millicent’s larger yarding attracted erratic competition from a small number of regular SA and Victorian buyers.

Fluctuating Prices

Due to the varying quality there have been fluctuating prices paid this week. The B muscled vealer steers to the trade sold from 192¢ to 231¢, or 7¢/kg dearer. However, the C3 steers were 15¢ cheaper selling between 182¢ and 198¢/kg.

Feeders and restockers sourced most C2 steers from 156¢ to 188¢, or 9¢ to 16¢/kg more. Vealer heifers to the trade sold from 206¢ and 210¢ for the B muscled with an A muscled single at 219¢ at dearer levels. The C2 and C3 heifers to the trade attracted prices from 134¢ to 211¢, or 3¢ to 20¢/kg less.

Yearling steer B muscled sales were unchanged selling from 180¢ to 205¢, with the C3 heavyweights 10¢ cheaper selling between 170¢ and 185¢/kg. Yearling heifer C3 medium and heavyweights sold from 160¢ to 188¢, with the medium weights 15¢ dearer and the heavyweights unchanged.

Grown steers and bullocks tended to sell between 160¢ and 192¢, with C3 sales averaging 15¢ dearer and mainly 295¢ to 340¢/kg cwt. The 3 to 5 score beef cows sold from 105¢ to 135¢ to be 2c to 5¢ dearer, and mainly 220¢ to 255¢/kg cwt. However, D1 and D2 dairy cows were 10¢ cheaper selling from 76¢ to 102¢/kg.

Western Australia

Good pasture growth in the south

Seasonal conditions in the majority of areas in the south of WA have continued to improve following on from the very solid rainfall levels recorded throughout the past month.

Germination levels have been high in all areas and pasture growth has been very solid, given the high soil moisture levels and the current warm conditions. It is hoped that further rainfall will bring further longevity to these pastures.

Conditions in the north of the state remain reasonable with further thunderstorm activity reported in the Kimberley and Pilbara districts, while reports have indicated that mustering has begun in the north.

Numbers lower

Saleyard numbers fell this week due to a considerably lower total at Muchea and the usual cancellation of the southwest sales following a Monday public holiday, while Mt Barker supplies in the Great Southern were solid after its lay off the previous week.

The supplies of finished cattle of all grades continued to tighten with processors now focusing their attention to the north for their supplies of finished cattle. The supplies of all slaughter classes were greatly reduced in physical market this week with even yearling store grades having only moderate supply levels.

The limited supplies of both grass and grain assisted yearlings recorded a sharp rise in trade, retailer and feeder demand that created solid rises in values.

The prices of heavy weight export grades of steers and heifers also benefitted from this improved trade competition, while the tight supplies of heavy weight cows continued to pressurise the trade with these values again dearer to a high of 160¢/kg lwt.

There was also an improvement in both feeder and restocker demand throughout store classes, which created higher price levels throughout the classes with all recording dearer averages.


Supply increases across the state

Total yardings through Victoria increased 29 per cent week-on-week with Bairnsdale, Colac and Warrnambool sales returning after the Easter break. Numbers at Camperdown reduced slightly by 16 per cent , while cattle supply at Leongatha returned to normal levels with 2,000 head penned. Consignments at Pakenham reduced significantly due to only young cattle on offer, while throughput at Shepparton decreased 11 per cent from last week. Numbers at Wodonga lifted 11 per cent overall, while Ballarat sale wasn’t operating.

Good quality grown cattle

The usual panel of buyers across most markets were in attendance however restocker and feeder interest was limited. Better quality young cattle at Camperdown sold unchanged to dearer, while at Pakenham there was a greater proportion of plain light weight cows on offer. Competition was strong for beef cows at Shepparton due to the limited supply of quality lines, while Leongatha provided some good quality grown steers and bullocks selling to stronger.

Markets consisted predominately of plain conditioned young cattle especially in Warrnambool and Wodonga, although quality was mixed for all weights and grades of grown cattle. Both Bairnsdale and Colac saw excellent quality for grown steers and bullocks selling to strong demand.

Cattle prices mixed across all categories

Heavyweight C3 vealer steers to processors sold 17? lower on 191?, while heavy C3 vealer heifers to slaughter declined 18? to average 185?/kg. Heavy C3 yearling steers to processors lifted 4? on 190?, while heavy C3 yearling heifers to slaughter increased 7? ranging from 132? to 190?/kg. Heavy C3 grown steers to processors rose 5¢ to make 185?, while lightweight D3 grown heifers to slaughter increased 6? ranging from 127? to 168?/kg. Heavy D3 manufacturing steers improved 11? on 163?, while heavy D3 cows to slaughter were 6? higher on 128?/kg.

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