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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

13 September 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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


Larger yardings persist

The persistent dry weather across much of the state lifted numbers at markets early in the week. Supply at the Roma store sale rose by 40%, and more young light weight calves were penned as produces from western districts wean calves in an effort to keep condition on breeders. The trend of larger numbers turned around by mid-week and supply at Dalby fell by 20%. Young cattle continued to dominate the selling pens; however there were a larger number of bullocks off crop included in the yarding. Export buyer attendance was erratic with not all the usual processors present at markets early in the week, however by mid-week most were present and operating. Restocker activity also varied across all centres and most were very selective.

Prices continue to slip

Young light and medium weight lines generally sold within 2¢ to 4¢/kg of the reduced prices of the previous week. The better end of the calves to restockers averaged 161¢, with poorer quality lines at 132¢/kg. A large supply of light weight yearling steers returned to the paddock 4¢ cheaper at 169¢, with the occasional pen to 195¢ and D muscle lines at 132¢/kg. Medium weight classes to feed mostly sold in the late 150¢ to early 160¢/kg range. Heavy weights to feed were well supplied and prices could not maintain the previous week’s levels, losing 6¢ to 8¢ to average 158¢/kg. The best of the light weight yearling heifers to restockers made to 144¢, while D muscle lines were in the largest numbers and averaged around 130¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers lost 3¢ to average 171¢, and bullocks sold to a market 7¢ cheaper at just below 170¢ with sales to 181¢/kg. The highlight of the week was a pen of certified grainfed bullocks making to 214.2¢ and returning $1354/head, with the proceeds going to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The falling trend in export slaughter classes continued in the cow section and good heavy cows averaged 8¢/kg cheaper. Medium weight plain condition lines averaged 77¢ and the 2 scores 97¢/kg. A fair supply of good heavy cows made to 141¢ to average 126¢/kg.


Numbers ease

Overall Victorian yardings decreased 8% week-on-week, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service. Throughput at Bairnsdale was back 18% and dropped by 30% at Ballarat. Camperdown recorded 16% fewer numbers, while Leongatha decreased 33% and Warrnambool throughput was only marginally smaller, down 3% on the previous sale. These declines were somewhat offset, however, by two of the larger Victorian saleyards reporting increased yardings, with Pakenham up 24% and Shepparton up 11%. Colac also experienced a boost in numbers, lifting by 73%, albeit off a very small yarding the previous week.

Increased restocker interest

Quality was generally mixed across the state, with a number of markets reporting plainer quality. Pakenham, Bairnsdale and Leongatha reported a generally more selective contingent of buyers, although the cheaper price trends caused restocker activity to increase.

There were good numbers of young cattle suitable for trade, feeder and restocker orders penned at Ballarat and Wodonga this week, while they were in short supply at Camperdown, Leongatha and Shepparton. Wodonga experienced increased export demand for heavy bullocks and manufacturing grades, while well finished beef cows met lower demand.

Trade cattle prices slip

Heavy weight C2 vealer steers to the trade were back 5¢ and averaged 184.8¢, while medium and heavy weight B2 vealer heifers were back 7¢ to 10¢ on 192.3¢/kg. Medium weight C3 yearling steers to processor orders slipped 10¢ on 188.5¢, with the heavy weights also trending cheaper as average prices were back 7¢ to settle on 190.3¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling heifers lost 16c to return around 168.6¢, while D3 lines eased 19¢ to 158.3¢/kg.

Medium weight C3 grown steers sold to an average price of 183.3¢, losing 8¢ week-on-week, while heavy C4 lines eased by a marginal 2¢ to 186.9¢/kg. The heavy D3 manufacturing steers made 158¢ on average, back 23¢/kg. Heavy dairy D2 cows settled on 123.5¢, back 13¢, and D4 lines of heavy beef cows made 138.5¢, back 9¢/kg.

Western Australia

Rainfall in southwest buoys seasonal conditions further

The strengthening in seasonal conditions continued in the southwest of WA this week, with further solid rainfall recorded across much of the Ag districts. Conditions in the traditional cattle producing areas south of Perth are enjoying a very strong season, with good rainfall and warm conditions producing very high levels of quality pasture growth. The strong season seen since autumn in these areas has produced an early turn off of grass finished cattle, with processors reporting good carcass weights across most categories. Conditions in the north of the State remain reasonable, with live export and mustering activity continuing at solid levels.

Consignments remain steady

Saleyard numbers at the three weekly markets remained moderate, with throughput similar to last week’s total. Muchea remained the largest of the three, followed by Mt Barker, which again had moderate numbers, while the southwest’s total remained small at just in excess of 200 head. The supplies of pastoral cattle continued at steady levels, while there was an increase in numbers of prime local trade and heavy weight grass cattle offered. Cow numbers remained fair, with reasonable supplies of young store cattle available. There was an increase in the demand for heavy weight steers and bullocks for both pastoral and locally bred drafts, while trade weight yearlings received stronger demand from the local trade and retail buyers.

Quality improves in the south

The quality and weight of local yearling store cattle remained mixed, which isn’t uncommon for this time of year, while feeder and restocker demand remains reasonable but quality dependant. Cow quality was fair this week. Trade demand from both local and export processors remained buoyant throughout most categories, with a moderate strengthening in price for both local and pastoral drafts.

New South Wales

Consignments ease due to limited demand

NSW cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s NLRS, decreased 28% week-on-week to total 16,489 head. Armidale yarded 19% less cattle, while Casino and Wagga yardings were firm week-on-week. CTLX and Dubbo decreased 22% and 37%, respectively, while supply at Forbes eased 5%. Gunnedah’s supply slipped after last week’s larger offering, while Inverell yarded 43% fewer cattle. The Hunter markets of Scone and Singleton both eased, while Tamworth throughput halved.

Quality lines attract strong interest

Crop and supplementary fed cattle continue to flow through markets, although the majority of yardings still consist of secondary yearlings and vealers. Quality lines attracted dearer prices at Scone, Gunnedah and Forbes, while butcher orders continue to be strong for vealer lines. Processors continue to purchase the majority of plain secondary lines, unsuitable for restock or feeder buyers, with prices varying considerably in places predominately due cattle lacking finish. The majority of buyers were operating across the state, despite a lack of interest reported at Wagga and CTLX.

Prices decline as quality fades

Medium weight C2 vealer steers to slaughter were 4¢ higher on 164¢, while medium weight vealer heifers lost 7¢ to average 158¢/kg. Light weight yearling steers to restockers lost 15¢ to 157¢, while medium weight C3 lines eased 2¢ to 189¢/kg. Light weight yearling heifers to feed lost 4¢ to settle on 140¢, while medium weights to slaughter were 3¢ cheaper on 173¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to slaughter were 4¢ lower on 130¢, while heavy weight C4 lines eased 2¢ to 179¢/kg. Bullocks to slaughter were 10¢ cheaper on 180¢/kg. Medium weight D3 grown heifers to processors were 7¢ lower on 123¢/kg, while medium weight cows to slaughter lost 5¢ to 116¢/kg. Heavy weight cows decreased 4¢ to average 132¢/kg. Heavy weight C2 bulls to slaughter were 7¢ cheaper on 145¢/kg.


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