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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

30 August 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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


Supply slightly higher

Victorian cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, lifted 5 per cent week-on-week; however most markets fluctuated in their throughput. Supply in the Gippsland region increased, with Leongatha and Bairnsdale yarding 3 per cent and 7 per cent more cattle, respectively, while throughput at Pakenham increased by 12 per cent .

Colac and Ballarat yarded similar small numbers, while Camperdown consignments eased 33 per cent . Shepparton supply was 7 per cent lower, while yardings at Warrnambool and Wodonga increased 40 per cent and 18 per cent , respectively.

Demand firm

There were fewer supplementary fed lines at Pakenham and Shepparton, while grown steer and bullocks at Wodonga commanded a premium. Restockers were keen to acquire secondary quality light weight yearling steers at Wodonga. Bullock demand at Leongatha remained strong, while there was firm demand for vealers at Bairnsdale.

Prices mostly improve

Heavy weight B2 vealer steers to slaughter were 1¢ higher on 210¢, while heavy weight vealer heifers gained 2¢ to average 205¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to restock were 19¢ dearer on 181¢, while the heavy weight C3 and C4 portions were firm to 2¢ higher and averaged 205¢/kg. Medium weight D3 yearling heifers to slaughter were 7¢ dearer on 183¢, while the heavy weight portion was 1¢ cheaper on 187¢/kg.

Heavy weight C3 grown steers to slaughter were 3¢ higher on 198¢, while C4 bullocks gained 2¢ to average 194¢/kg. Light weight grown heifers to slaughter lifted 2¢ to settle on 185¢, while heavy weight manufacturing steers gained 6¢ to average 166¢/kg.

Light weight dairy cows gained 2¢ to average 107¢, while medium weight dairy cows were unchanged on 124¢/kg. Heavy weight D3 and D4 cows to slaughter improved by 3¢ to 5¢, settling on 156¢/kg.


Yardings increase as plain lines dominate

The prevailing dry conditions across large areas of the state and the return of Longreach into the selling program lifted supply at physical markets reported by MLA’s NLRS by 22 per cent . Numbers more than doubled on the previous week and lifted to the highest level since April 2012 at Warwick as producer’s offloaded large numbers of stock, off the last of the oats crops.

The standard of the young lightweight cattle continues to decline, while some fair consignments of good quality heavy grown steers and bullocks were penned. There was a wide variation in the standard of the cows with some good samples of all classes.

Buyer attendance in most export sections was generally good, along with the usual feeder and trade operators. However, fewer restocker buyers were in attendance and most were very selective in their purchases.

Feeder steers in demand

Young lightweight cattle experienced a wide variation in price and most sold to a cheaper trend, with the poorer quality lines losing 10¢ to 20¢/kg with the heifer portion the most affected. The best of the lightweight calves returning to the paddock averaged 153¢ and sold to190¢, while the large sample of plain condition lines sold around 118¢/kg.

The short supply of vealer steers averaged 177¢, with the occasional sale to local butchers at 202¢/kg. A large number of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at 170¢ and prices varied from 152¢ to 196¢, with D muscle lines at 140¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed struggled to maintain a firm trend with most in the 160¢/kg range.

Heavy feeders were in demand to average 3¢ to 5¢ better at 166¢, with one consignment reaching 176¢/kg. The best of the lightweight yearling heifers to feed and restockers and the trade averaged in the high 140¢ range, while poorer quality lines were in the largest numbers with most from 120¢ to 130¢/kg.

Export cattle prices improve

Heavy grown steers and bullocks averaged 3¢ dearer with both classes selling to 189¢/kg. Heavy grown steers averaged 174¢ and bullocks 176¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows mostly sold in the 90¢/kg range. Good heavy cows made to a top of 150¢, with most at 132¢/kg.

New South Wales

Supply moves higher

NSW cattle supply as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service was 9 per cent higher week-on-week, with the majority of markets recording larger offerings. Casino yarded 29 per cent more cattle, while Dubbo had one of the largest prime cattle markets recorded totalling 6,050 head, a rise on 44 per cent week-on-week. Gunnedah and Inverell lifted 28 per cent and 57 per cent , respectively, while consignments at Tamworth were up 14 per cent . Wagga supply was 25 per cent higher week-on-week, while CTLX, Armidale, Forbes and Scone all yarded fewer cattle.

Lighter weights yarded

The majority of yearlings yarded around the state were of secondary quality with increased numbers of light weight lines coming forward. Most young cattle continue to be in trade condition more suitable for feeders and restockers. There were limited numbers of supplementary fed lines at Wagga, while there were excellent lines of well-finished cows and grown steers yarded at Dubbo, along with some top lines of supplementary fed trade cattle.

Prices lift despite larger supply

Medium weight C2 vealer steers to restocker buyers were 11¢ cheaper on 164¢ while medium weight C2 yearling heifers to restock were unchanged on 142¢/kg. Light weight yearling steers to restockers were 4¢ higher on 183¢, while medium weight lines to feeders were firm on 183¢/kg.

Heavy weight C3 yearling steers to slaughter were 2¢ higher on 193¢/kg. Light weight yearling heifers to restockers lost 6¢ to average 145¢, while medium weight C3 lines to slaughter gained 1¢ to 174¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 yearling heifers to process increased 3¢ to 174¢/kg.

Medium weight C2 grown steers to feed decreased 9¢ to 160¢, while heavy weight C3 and C4 steers lifted 4¢ to 7¢, to average 188¢/kg. Light weight grown heifers to slaughter lost 3¢ to average 149¢/kg. Medium weight cows to process lifted 2¢ to 136¢, while heavy weight D4 lines were 1¢ dearer on 149¢/kg

Western Australia 

Season strengthens in the south

Seasonal conditions in the southern agricultural districts of WA received another boost this week from several cold fronts that produced wide spread rainfall across the regions. The eastern and northern Wheatbelt areas also enjoyed solid falls.

The traditional cattle rearing and fattening areas of the southwest continue to see very strong seasonal conditions, with mild temperature levels aiding strong pasture growth and seeing an early turnoff of grass finished cattle.

Some areas in the northern pastoral regions recorded thunderstorm activity, with conditions in the majority of areas remaining solid. Mustering activity remains high and has been accompanied by strong live export activity, while steady numbers of slaughter cattle continue to flow south to southern processors.

Numbers steady

Physical saleyard numbers were once again only moderate, with Muchea remaining the largest of the three weekly markets, while the two southern sales again recorded low totals. Plain conditioned pastoral cattle dominated Muchea’s yarding, while the supplies of prime local slaughter cattle in physical markets remained tight.

Despite this, the quality and weight of those sold remained high. Young local store grades remained relatively limited in number, with quality and weight mixed. As would be expected at this time of year, many secondary grades were yarded.

Prices ease as demand weakens

Demand from the local trade was slightly lower this week in trade weight yearling categories, with prices marginally cheaper than the previous week. This was also the case in heavy weight export grades of steers and heifers from both local and pastoral areas. Heavy weight cow and bull classes also met a cheaper trend due to a weaker and more selective processor demand and competition. Prime local heavy weight cows fell by 7¢ to 8¢/ to average around 127¢/kg.

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