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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

26 July 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

Yardings lift

Cattle yardings in SA as reported by MLA’s NLRS lifted 11% week-on-week to total 2,135 head, remaining 29% lower than the corresponding period last year. Mount Gambier increased their throughput by 17%, while the SA Livestock Exchange yarded 59% more cattle. Naracoorte yarded similar numbers to last week.

Quality improves at Naracoorte

Demand generally eased at the SA Livestock Exchange from trade and processor buyers, while feeder and restocker buyers varied in there activity. Quality lifted at Naracoorte, with all buyers in attendance and operating. Good quality supplementary fed yearlings and some supplementary fed grown cattle were yarded at Naracoorte. The market at Mount Gambier was slightly stronger, as feeder buyers were more prominent on suitable young cattle at dearer prices.

Young cattle prices higher

Despite the higher supply this week, prices across most young cattle categories generally improved, while cow prices eased where quality suited.

Medium weight yearling C2 steers to feed were unchanged on 177¢, while heavy weight C3 lots to slaughter gained 15¢ to average 193¢/kg. Medium weight C3 yearling heifers to processors lifted 8¢ to average 185¢, while heavy weight lines also to processors increased 20¢ to settle on 187¢/kg.

Heavy weight grown steers to slaughter were 11¢ higher on 185¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to slaughter eased 1¢ to 127¢, while heavy weight cows were also slightly cheaper on 142¢/kg. Heavy weight B2 bulls lifted 9¢ to average 140¢/kg.

Queensland

Yardings decrease

Scattered falls of rain over parts of the supply area more than halved numbers at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS. Young cattle represented 62% of total numbers with producers from drought affected areas of the state offloading large numbers of calves in an effort to maintain the breeding herd.

Heavy grown steers and bullocks were scarce however the cow portion was dominated by good heavy cows. The patchy rainfall across a number of areas and in southern states appeared to attract more restocker buyers into the market.

Export processor attendance was generally good and, despite one major feeder buyer not operating, the addition of southern feeder buyers in the market helped prices to maintain a firm trend.

Rain induces restockers

The rain lifted restocker enthusiasm and buyers were able to absorb the large numbers of calves and the good sample of lightweight yearling steers lifted prices by 9¢ to 11¢/kg. Calves mostly sold around 170¢ with some to 197.2¢/kg.

Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock averaged 175¢ with the occasional sale to 202.2¢, while D muscle lines averaged 143¢/kg. Medium and heavy weight yearling steers to feed generally sold in the high 160¢ range, with the occasional pen of heavyweights making to 176.2¢/kg.

The lift in market prices flowed onto the heifer portion with some returning to the paddock at 159.2¢, while D muscle lines were in the largest numbers and generally sold around 135¢/kg.

Tight supply of grown steers

The short supply of heavy grown steers to export slaughter experienced very little change in price at 164¢, with sales to 175¢/kg. The small selection of bullocks averaged in the mid-160¢/kg range with the occasional B muscle class reaching 174.2¢/kg.

Restockers were very active on plain condition cows and average prices improved by 12¢ to106¢/kg. Medium weight 2 scores to processors averaged 8¢ dearer at 94¢ with sales to 116.2¢/kg. A fair sample of good heavy cows made to an isolated 140¢, with most 4¢ better at 125¢/kg.

Victoria

Cows dominate yardings

Cattle yardings in MLA’s NLRS reported markets lifted slightly to be 3% higher week-on-week, totalling 10,508 head. While throughput at Pakenham was down 23%, Shepparton increased by 19% and supply at Camperdown was up 21%. Cows were by far in the greatest number, with 3,539 penned across the state.

Quality remains fairly mixed

Quality was good at Shepparton and Wodonga, although it remained mixed at other centres. Good quality vealers were fairly scarce in number at Pakenham and Shepparton, a result of recent cold weather and a poor growing season.

The majority of the offering at Camperdown was export cattle suitable to processors, while Pakenham experienced a percentage increase in the number of lightweight cattle penned.

The usual processor buyers were present and competed strongly for grown steer and cows at most markets assisting in some price improvements, although restocker and feeder buyers remain subdued.

Prices vary

Heavy weight C2 vealer steers were up 2¢ this week to average 188¢/kg. Medium weight C2 vealer heifers jumped 15c to settle on 185¢, while C3 heavy weights eased 10¢ to average around 189¢/kg. Trade cattle were well supplied and medium weight C3 yearling steers fell 6c to average 194¢, while heavy weights lost 4¢ to average 193¢/kg.

The C and D3 heavy grown steers were 3¢ either side of firm, averaging 188¢/kg, while the D3 heavy heifers saw a 5¢ increase and averaged 162¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows lost 3c and averaged 134¢, while heavy weights gained 1¢ to settle on 149¢/kg. Heavy weight C2 bulls jumped 9¢, averaging 153¢/kg.

New South Wales 

Cattle numbers continue to ease

Consistent with markets held at this time of year, combined with the promise of a reasonable spring, cattle numbers slipped 18% week-on-week at MLA’s NLRS reported markets. Wagga and Tamworth commenced the week, yarding 13% and 28% fewer cattle respectively, as Forbes reduced their yarding by 20%. CTLX Carcoar slipped 36%, with the majority of the northern sales reporting large decreases. However Armidale defied the trend to increase 39% week-on-week. The Hunter markets both trended lower, as Scone eased 22%, with Singleton offering 36% fewer cattle. Dubbo finished the week, yarding much the same numbers.

Quality was mixed

The majority of markets reported a mixed quality offering, with some reporting quality lifting marginally, as supplementary and prime younger cattle were scarce. Younger cattle suitable for lot feeder and restocker purchases continue to dominate market percentages, as both yearling steers and heifers more than doubled the offering of the vealer categories. Good percentages of the younger heifers were purchased by the trade and butcher orders. Cow categories made up the bulk of the older cattle penned, with around 2,480 offered, a reduction of 18% week-on-week. Prime conditioned heavy weight steers slipped in number for 518 head yarded, however very few fell into the bullock category.

The majority offered trended dearer

Markets reported younger cattle selling to dearer trends, as the medium weighted vealer steers and heifers lifted 5¢ to 7¢/kg. The prime conditioned heavier weights to the butchers also sold at dearer levels.

Yearling steers to the feeders and restockers trended dearer by 4¢ to 8¢, as the best heavy weights to the trade and butchers reached 226¢/kg. Prime conditioned yearling heifers suitable for processing trended 8¢ to 10¢ dearer before averaging around 179¢ to 185¢, as the best again made well over the 200¢/kg range.

Prime heavy weight grown steers and bullocks to slaughter sold 2¢ either side of firm, as the tops reached 199¢/kg. Cows continue to sell well, as the plainer 2 scores averaged 118¢, while the better finished 3 and 4 scores averaged from 129¢ to 167¢/kg. The better muscled bulls averaged 161¢/kg.

Western Australia

Seasonal progress in south

Conditions in the traditional cattle rearing and grazier regions in the southwest of WA recorded further rainfall over the past seven days. This has further heightened the season’s prospects for this year, as several cold fronts crossed the coast.

Forecasts have also predicted further fronts as far forward as next Tuesday. This rainfall has been accompanied by very cold temperatures which continue to hamper feed growth, while run-off into water storage dams still remains only moderate, with more needed to ensure reasonable water supplies over the coming dry months. Conditions in the far north remain very solid following on from the unseasonal high rainfall levels recorded during May and June.

Supplies tighten

Supplies of cattle fell in the three weekly southern markets due to a solid fall in the numbers of pastoral cattle forwarded at Muchea. Although larger, the southwest sale remained low, as would be expected at this time, while Great Southern numbers were also minimal.

As would also be expected at this time of year, the numbers of prime heavy and trade weight cattle were minimal, with the bulk of the yarding being made up of lightweight store grades of pastoral steers and heifers. Local cow drafts were lower after the weaker demand the previous week.

Improved demand

Demand from local retailers and processors improved in both finished consignments of grain and grass assisted trade weight yearling classes, where prices were recorded at improved levels despite grass finished drafts being of mixed quality.

Local store cattle quality and weight were also mixed, but despite this, most grades enjoyed improved feeder and restocker demand after the lower levels seen the previous week, with dearer prices recorded.

The cow market also enjoyed a rebound in processor demand, with higher prices recorded at all three weekly market, while heavy weight bull sales increased marginally as well.

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