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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

12 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).

South Australia

No rain, increased numbers

There have been mixed results for producers after another week of dry weather, with only isolated thunderstorms affecting parts of some pastoral regions. The lack of rain has led many producers to destock, with the prospect of rain not on the horizon.

Many cattle were in 1 and 2 score condition, and were unable to attract any strong competition. Cattle in 3 and 4 score condition were selling at unchanged levels, as processors picked their way through each yarding.

The SA LE’s smaller mixed quality yarding for the first sale in a fortnight attracted erratic demand from the usual trade and export buyers. Feeder orders sourced lightweight yearling steers at generally improved prices. Only a handful of vealers were offered. The C3 supplementary fed yearling steers and heifers attracted strong bidding above 200¢/kg for the steers and heifers. The 2 to 5 beef cows sold to restocker and processor inquiry.

Naracoorte’s numbers increased by over 1,000 head this week. Stock were in mixed quality runs, and sold to limited fluctuating SA and Victorian trade and export competition. The yarding also featured over 170 calves. While isolated sales were dearer, most others were cheaper due to the limited demand.

Mt. Gambier’s increased mixed quality yarding was also not immune to the lower prices being paid this week. A Victorian processor who pushed grown steers prices up last week was not making any purchases this week.

Prices retreat

It has been a week of mainly retreating prices, which can be attributed to the increased numbers of unfinished stock yarded.

The B-muscled vealer steers in limited numbers to the trade sold from 166¢ to 213¢, with lightweights 5¢ dearer and the medium weights 10¢/kg less. Limited C3 sales were 22¢ dearer selling up to 224¢/kg.

Feeders and restockers sourced C1 and C2 vealer steers between 130¢ and 180¢, or 15¢ to 35¢/kg cheaper. The C-muscled vealer heifers sold from 125¢ to 210¢, with isolated sales 10¢ dearer and most others 9¢ to 15¢/kg less.

Yearling steer B2 and C3 sales ranged between 150¢ and 213¢ or 3¢ to 6¢ cheaper, with the B2 heavyweights 5¢/kg dearer. Increased numbers to feeders and restockers sold from 120¢ to 190¢/kg. Yearling heifer C3 sales were from 140¢ to 211¢ and were averaging 10¢/kg less.

Grown steers and bullocks to reduced competition were 2¢ to 6¢ cheaper selling mainly between 150¢ and 190¢, or 275¢ to 330¢/kg cwt. The 2 to 5 score beef cows to processors sold from 90¢ to 135¢ at prices unchanged to 8¢ less, and generally 190¢ to 250¢/kg cwt.


Numbers increase

The resumption of a full trading week saw numbers return to normal across most MLA’s NLRS Queensland cattle markets this week. Total national supply totalled 24,664 head, being 81 per cent higher than last week.

The return of Toowoomba markets aided total yardings. Dalby doubled its supply this week, while Longreach throughput lifted 15 per cent week-on-week. Roma store and prime sale both significantly increased their supply, while Warwick yarded 76 per cent more cattle.

Quality remains plain

Quality lines of cattle are still in short supply with secondary consignments dominating most yardings across the southern selling centres. The majority of cattle continue to flow from the central and south-west regions with most being in plain condition.

There were some additional buyers present at Warwick and Roma store helping prices increase in places however most operated at reduced levels across all markets.

Prices slip

Medium weight vealer steers to restockers gained 17¢ to average 199¢, while medium weight vealer heifers to slaughter lost 1¢ to settle on 165¢/kg. Light weight yearling steers to restockers were unchanged to average 158¢, while light weight yearling heifers to restockers decreased 1¢ to 148¢/kg.

Medium weight D3 grown steers to feeder buyers were 3¢ lower on 147¢, while C4 heavy weight grown steers to slaughter lost 5¢ to 165¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to processors decreased 7¢ to average 103¢, while heavy weight D4 cows to slaughter were 1¢ cheaper on 133¢/kg.

Western Australia

Cooler weather on the way

Conditions in the south of WA were predominately hot and dry this week with only south coast areas recording any sort of rainfall. The hot conditions of the past seven days have stressed young pastures and it is hoped that a cold front predicted to cross the west coast this weekend will bring much needed moisture to ensure that this germination is maintained.

Calving activity continues in increase with supplementary feeding in the south still a high priority on properties. The far north of WA continues to enjoy late rainfall, while parts of the eastern Pilbara still remain very dry. Mustering in the north has begun, but late rain has created transport problems on some areas.

Processors await pastoral cattle in the south

Southern processors have already signed up cattle from the north and it is hoped that these will head south in the next couple of weeks, to alleviate their current shortage of cattle. Physical saleyard numbers lifted this week due to a return to the normal working week and the southwest sale.

All three weekly markets recorded larger numbers with Mt Barker again the largest of the three. The majority of cattle were sourced from local districts with only limited supplies of ex-pastoral drafts available. Trade and heavy weight steer and heifer supplies remained tight while young store grades continued to dominate all three sales, with cow supplies remaining only moderate.


Supply climbs

As expected, the supply of cattle climbed after the Easter holiday break with all but one centre reporting mild to vast increases in yarding totals.

Quality was generally mixed with more numbers of plainer cattle being consigned due to the prolonged dry spell and lack of feed. Supplementary fed categories are providing processors with average to very good quality.

Buyer attendance at markets on the whole is being maintained, while restocker activity was at regular levels, with demand mainly steady. Prices from processors varied amongst all the various weights, grades and categories of cattle and did not really reflect quality or supply.

Lower prices

Overall, the young cattle were 10¢ cheaper to 10¢/kg dearer throughout the week. Grown steers sold mostly dearer with the best sales 10¢/kg higher, while cows were firm to cheaper mid to later in the week after a dearer to firm opening on Monday and Tuesday. One late week market saw plainer light weight cows sell up to 30¢/kg lower.

The majority of the C2 and C3 milk vealers to processors and restockers made between 135¢ and 197¢, with the best to the trade up to 220¢ and the B3’s topped at 245¢/kg. Yearling C2 and C3’s were mostly from 135¢ to 183¢ to restockers and processors, with a top of 208.6¢ and 211.6¢/kg for B3 grades. Grown steers were mainly between 150¢ and 200¢/kg for the C3 grades of light, medium and heavy weights. A run of better plain to good quality cows cost an estimated 210¢ to 270¢/kg cwt. The light weight E1 cows made 35¢ to 96¢, medium weight D1’s were from 70¢ to 116¢/kg. Heavy D2 Friesians sold at 85¢ to 124¢ with the leaner D1’s from 84¢ to 114¢/kg. Most heavy 3, 4 and 5 score cows made between 112¢ and 139¢ with top European bred cows at 153.6¢/kg. The B2 grade of heavy weight bulls sold from 110¢ to 166¢/kg.

New South Wales

Consignments increased substantially

With the return to a normal working week consignments lifted substantially at markets week-on-week. The previous cancelled markets continued their sales with CTLX Carcoar and Casino doubling their consignments. All other markets showed large increases compared to their previous sales. Agents continue to operate weaner sales throughout the state with Gunnedah, Walgett and Cooma selling this week.

Quality continues to be mixed

Quality continues to be mixed as vealers were well supplied with large percentages of the steer portion returning to the paddock. Processors continue to purchase the bulk of vealer heifers. Around 2,400 head extra yearling steers were offered as 80 per cent went to restocker and lot feeder orders.

There were triple the yearling heifers penned with lot feeder and restockers again securing large percentages. Prime conditioned grown steers and bullocks also increased percentage wise with around 670 head offered throughout MLA NLRS markets.

Cow numbers also tripled with 3,837 head penned as most weights and grades were offered. Restockers were again limited in the competition with the majority selling to processor orders.

Prices continue to ease

Younger cattle to restocker and lot feeder orders continue to ease in price as vealer steers slipped 1¢ to 5¢/kg as those to the trade remained close enough to firm. Vealer heifers to trade and butcher purchases lost 3¢ to 7¢/kg.

Yearling steers to feeder and restocker orders sold according to quality with the best breeds remaining similar. Yearling heifers to feeders lost 4¢ to 6¢ as heavy weights to the butchers remained firm to average 162¢/kg.

Heavy weight steers to slaughter remained firm to 4¢/kg dearer as quality lifted marginally. The older heifers sold at similar prices this week. Cows struggled in the competition to slip back from 2¢ to 7¢/kg with some processors failing to fully compete. The plainer 2 scores averaged 99¢ as the better covered heavy weights topped at 136¢ for an overall average around the 108¢/kg range.

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