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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

20 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).

Western Australia

More rainfall in the south

The far north of WA continues to enjoy reasonable seasonal conditions, while parts of the Gascoyne and Murchison remain seasonally dry. There was further strengthening across much of the southern agricultural districts over the past seven days, with several more fronts crossing the coast bringing more solid rainfall, particularly to regions in the traditional cattle rearing areas of the southwest.

Cropping areas have also enjoyed above average rainfall for this time of year and this has begun to hamper hay making operations due to the high moisture levels of the ground. Forecasts have also predicted that there will be further solid rainfall in the south across the weekend and into early parts of next week.

Supply firm

Physical market numbers remained similar to the previous week, with Muchea again the largest of the three weekly sales. Mt Barker’s numbers remained moderate, while the southwest again yarded limited numbers. Pastoral supplies remained reasonable at Muchea and accounted for the bulk of that market’s total, while overall the supply of local cattle remained moderate with reasonable numbers of grass finished trade weight steers and heifers available.

The strong feed conditions seen in the south since winter have begun to show in cattle condition, with processors and agents both reporting solid turnoff of finished drafts. Local store grades remained fair, with this also the case in cow categories.

Demand remains solid

Local trade and retailer demand for trade weight yearlings remained buoyant, while an improvement in the quality of heavy weight pastoral steers and bullocks resulted in moderate increases in demand and price.

Demand for store cattle continues at reasonable levels, but very much dependent upon quality, to both the feeder and restocker sectors. Cow quality also improved this week and, once again, demand from the processing sector was maintained, while heavy weight demand remained conservative by comparison.

Queensland

Yardings tighten

Scattered rain over parts of the supply area drastically reduced numbers at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS. Despite 60 per cent of the state now being officially drought declared, light rain in some areas reduced supply at the major selling centres by almost half the previous week’s level.

The smaller numbers yarded generally attracted better quality; however some poor condition lines of light weight cattle and cows were penned. Buyer attendance was good, with representatives covering all classes and most operating. Prices for the tighter supply generally improved however light weight poor condition heifers failed to attract stronger demand.

Prices receive a needed boost

Calves returning to the paddock averaged close to firm at 160¢, with sales to 175¢, while poorer quality lines sold around 110¢ to 120¢/kg. The small sample of good quality vealer heifers averaged 7¢ dearer at 151¢, with sales to 192¢/kg. Light weight yearling steers returning to the paddock experienced very little change in price to average 167¢, with some to 180¢, and D muscle lines averaged 146¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling steers to feed lifted in price by 3¢ to 9¢, with the largest numbers in the mid-160¢ range, while some sales were to 181¢ and the occasional B muscle class sold to the trade at 204¢/kg. Heavy feeders were 7¢ better to average 164¢, while trade descriptions improved 10¢ to average 173¢ and topped at 194¢/kg. Light weight yearling heifers gained 8¢ to 13¢, averaging 150¢, while D muscle lines continued to lose ground in price, averaging around 129¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers averaged 5¢ better at 176¢ and sold to 184¢/kg. A fair sample of bullocks lifted in price by 8¢ to average just less than 178¢, with the occasional pen reaching 185¢/kg. Light weight plain cows averaged 14¢ dearer on 88¢ and medium weight 2 scores improved 8¢ to average 105¢, with some sales to 120¢/kg. A fair supply of good heavy cows averaged 7¢ dearer at 133¢, with the occasional pen to 147¢/kg.

Victoria

Heavy rain curbs yardings and boosts demand

Overall yardings across Victorian markets declined 23 per cent week-on-week to total 7,175 head as reported by MLA’s NLRS. Numbers at Bairnsdale and Warrnambool eased only slightly, back 6 per cent and 5 per cent , respectively. Colac saw its already low throughput reduced by 37 per cent , while and Pakenham was back 8 per cent . The largest markets of Leongatha, Shepparton and Wodonga all eased to be 24 per cent , 38 per cent and 35 per cent lower, respectively. Only Ballarat and Camperdown defied the trend, with numbers lifting by 31 per cent at Ballarat and 13 per cent at Camperdown.

The overall decline in numbers comes after heavy rainfall across the state has allowed producers the option to hold and finish secondary and plainer cattle. Demand generally increased across all weights and grades, as the reduced offerings left the regular processor buyers to compete more strongly to secure stock. Local restockers were also operating keenly on secondary lines at Ballarat, Pakenham and Wodonga.

Prices lift across most categories

Prices generally lifted for better lines of young trade cattle, while those to restock and feed met cheaper trends. Medium weight B2 vealer steers to the trade gained 19¢ to average 207.7¢, while heavy weight B and C2 lines were up 6¢ to 7¢, selling at an average price of 199.6¢/kg. Medium C2 vealer heifers settled on 179.8¢ to be up 6¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 yearling steers to processors were up 5¢ on 195.1¢, while their heifer counterparts jumped 16¢ to average 185¢/kg.

A large supply of grown steers was slightly dearer across almost all weights and grades. Medium C3 steers gained 11¢ on 194.4¢, while heavy C4 lines were up 2¢ on 189.2¢/kg. Light weight D3 grown heifers improved 16¢ to settle on an average price of 152.9¢/kg. Medium weight D1 and D2 dairy cows lifted between 2¢ and 9¢, averaging around 116.7¢, while good heavy beef cows gained 8¢ to 9¢ on 145.4¢/kg.

New South Wales

Yardings decrease due to welcome rain

Yardings across the state generally decreased this week due to most areas recording solid rainfall. Total NSW supply this week eased 35 per cent , with Casino and CTLX throughput 32 per cent and 36 per cent lower, respectively, while Dubbo eased their supply by 5 per cent . Forbes yarded 28 per cent fewer cattle, while throughput at Gunnedah, Inverell, Scone, Tamworth and Wagga halved. Despite the rain, supply at Armidale doubled, albeit off a low base.

Demand improves

Most buyers this week were present at all markets. This, combined with renewed interest from restockers due to the rain, saw prices lift. There were some good quality crop and supplementary fed lines offered at most markets, and these attracted spirited demand. Restocker and feeder buyers were active on suitable lines at Wagga, while vealer and yearling heifers were met with keen interest by processors and butchers at Singleton.

Prices lift

Medium weight vealer steers to restockers were 19¢ higher on 178¢, while medium weight yearling heifers to slaughter were 8¢ dearer on 166¢/kg. Light weight yearling steers to feeder buyers gained 3¢ to 175¢, while medium weight lines to feed lifted 5¢ to average 179¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 yearling steers to slaughter were firm to dearer and averaged 190¢/kg. Medium weight C3 yearling heifers to processors increased 4¢ to settle on 177¢, while heavy weight drafts gained 9¢ to average 170¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to slaughter were 25¢ higher on 191¢, while heavy weight lines gained 14¢ to average 194¢/kg. Medium weight grown heifers lifted 15¢ to 169¢/kg. Medium weight cows to slaughter improved 14¢ to 129¢, while heavy weight D4 drafts increased 11¢ to settle on 144¢/kg.

South Australia

Yardings ease decline as producers hold stock

Numbers eased by 16 per cent with the exclusion of the Millicent market affecting total consignments. Cattle quality varied considerably this week and ranged from plain to very good quality. Vealers were scarce and supplementary fed yearlings were in only moderate supply while only a few top quality cows and heavy weight bulls were yarded. Despite the recent better quality yardings plainer lines were offered, although the recent welcome rainfall and considerable pasture growth should see more cattle in better condition start to emerge in great numbers.

All buyers active

The usual processors were active however prices remain firm for most categories this week. The off isolated sales were slightly dearer, such as several lines of very good quality medium to heavy weight yearling heifers at Naracoorte and grown steers at Mount Gambier. Restockers and lot feeders were again active but some operated cautiously, especially at Mount Gambier. Many pastoral cattle at the SA Livestock Exchange failed to attract any sustained bidding although light weight pastoral bred bulls to feeders lifted 5¢ and sold from 98¢ to 110¢/kg.

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