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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

16 May 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - The following report is a collection of market summaries from the previous week across Australia's territories from analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

South Australia

Numbers decline

Overall SA supply at MLA’s NLRS reported markets declined 35 per cent week-on-week, to total 3,021 head, report market analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

Mount Gambier and Naracoorte both reported significantly reduced yardings, back 56 per cent and 35 per cent , to total 814 and 1,547 head, respectively. The SA Livestock Exchange, however, defied the trend to pen 75 per cent more cattle, albeit off a low base, with numbers lifting to 660 head.

Buyers selectively active

Quality was reportedly very mixed at all physical markets this week, with the usual gallery of buyers all in attendance, although competition fluctuated. There were some large pastoral drafts penned at the SA Livestock Exchange, and these attracted very little sustained bidding, with feeders and restockers selective in their purchases.

Naracoorte’s yarding contained fewer store conditioned lines week-on-week, with the grown steers in particular being presented with more cover. Restockers were active at Mount Gambier, however they were not displaying any urgency to acquire numbers.

Prices generally ease

Light weight C2 yearling steers to restocker and feeder buyers sold from 131¢ to 208¢, with prices back 22¢, to average 165¢/kg. The heavy C3 steers to processors averaged 13¢ cheaper on 192¢, while their heifer equivalents gained 4¢ on 186¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers to slaughter lifted 8¢ to 199¢, while the bullock portion eased 2¢, to average 193¢/kg. Light D muscled grown heifers were 19¢ lower on 138¢/kg. Medium weight D1 and 2 beef cows lost 2¢ to 5¢ and averaged 117¢, while the heavy D muscled lines slipped 6¢ to 10¢, to average 134¢/kg.

Victoria

Numbers ease at all saleyards

Consignments eased by 41 per cent , totalling 11,360 head as all selling centres yarded fewer cattle, especially Leongatha, Pakenham and Wodonga. Both Leongatha and Pakenham yarded close to 2,100 head, while throughput at Wodonga and Warrnambool totalled 989 and 2,160 head, respectively. Camperdown numbers declined, totalling 410 head, while Colac offered 585 head, back significantly on last week.

Quality starting to ease

Most markets reported mixed quality through the young cattle and grown steer categories, although there were plainer lines that were discounted from 8¢ to 20¢/kg at Wodonga and Pakenham.

Quality was generally average across the grown steer categories at Pakenham, while not all buyers were active at Warrnambool and prices were affected. Supplementary fed lines were in good numbers at Shepparton and Pakenham, selling strongly, however processor buyers still remained selective.

Prices lift as supply declines

Prices were firm to slightly dearer overall on the back of reduced supply across all markets. Vealer steers to feed averaged 184¢, up 2¢, while medium weight heifers to slaughter were steady averaging 167¢/kg. Heavy yearling steers to feed eased 3¢ on last week averaging 185¢, while C3 lines to slaughter averaged 201¢, up 6¢/kg week-on-week.

Heavy D3 yearling heifers averaged 177¢, unchanged on last week. The 600-750kg grown steers averaged 200¢, up 6¢, while D3 lines were steady ranging from 142¢ to 212¢/kg. Manufacturing D2 and 3 score steers sold 5¢ dearer averaging 169¢ and 179¢/kg, respectively. Heavy D1 dairy cows topped at 135¢ to average 122, up 2¢, while D3 and 4 score beef cows slipped 3¢ to 7¢, averaging 140¢ and 141¢/kg, respectively.

Queensland

Young cattle flow in big numbers

The forecast of a dry winter increased supply at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS by 20 per cent . The supply of stock in the south-east corner of the state experience very little change from the high levels of the previous week.

However a much larger number were trucked into the Roma store sale resulted in agents holding stock over for the Thursday market. The supply of yearling steers almost doubled the previous week’s level, along with calves and vealers, as producers take a very cautious approach to the deteriorating weather conditions.

Export buyer representation was erratic with some absent from the buying panel, while others did not operate on slaughter classes, and by mid-week buyers were also absent from the buying panel in the young cattle section.

Yearling steers to feeders hold

Young lightweight cattle experienced a mixed trend with well-bred lines receiving strong competition from restockers as well as backgrounders. However buyers were selective and prices fell on the lesser quality lines. Well-bred calves returning to the paddock made to 215¢, while a very large number sold around the 160¢/kg mark.

Most of the vealer steers sold to feeder operators at 181¢ with the occasional sale with show ring potential reaching 240¢/kg. The increased numbers of vealer heifers locally and interstate saw average prices decline by over 20¢ with most in the 120¢/kg range.

A large supply of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at 196¢ the occasional sale to 225¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed were keenly sought and provided a bright spot in the market with most averaging 184¢ with one consignment reaching 194.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers followed the same trend as the vealer heifers sold to very limited competition and the largest sample made in the 130¢/kg range.

Western Australia

WA season strengthens

There was wide spread rainfall across much of the previous week in WA with solid recordings reported in parts of the Kimberley, throughout the Pilbara, Gascoyne, Murchison, Goldfields and southern districts. For many in the Pilbara, Murchison and Gascoyne regions this brought relief for the first time in several years, while conditions in the south have improved dramatically, with the good moisture levels recorded throughout late April and thus far during May.

Conditions in the tropical north remain favourable with mustering and subsequent live export activity in this region on the rise. Pasture germination in the south has been good, but despite this there are regions on the south coast that still require good rainfall. They have struggled with a long and unseasonal dry period which has seen higher levels of hay fed to stock until now.

Numbers of finished cattle decline

Prime cattle supplies remain tight with demand remaining strong from the processing sector. This week saw lower supplies at all three weekly physical markets with the southwest sale the smallest of these. All grades of slaughter cattle had either very limited or only moderate supplies in saleyards, while young store grades were in only fair supply.

There was a more even split between pastoral and local cattle seen in saleyards this week. Demand from the processing sector for prime steers and heifers of all ages and weight categories remained extremely strong. The limited numbers represented throughout these classes makes trend hard to quote.

Feeder and processor demand strong

Demand from the feeder and restocker sectors for yearling store grades was also maintained at very high levels. The shortage of prime slaughter cattle was once again reflected in cow prices as processors continued to compete strongly, which was also evident in heavy weight bull prices.

Export cattle quality slips

The very short supply of heavy grown steers and bullocks lost 10¢ to average 169¢/kg. Cows continued to lose ground in price for the third consecutive week with average prices down a further 10c to 20¢/kg. Medium weight 2 scores averaged 90¢ and the 3 scores 107¢/kg. Good heavy cows averaged 17¢ cheaper at 126¢ the very occasional pen made to 140.2¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers continue to decline

As prices continue to struggle to maintain firm values, consignments slipped by 21 per cent , for a total of 21,809 cattle offered at MLA’s NLRS markets. Wagga yarded less than the predicted draw for a penning of 4,100 head as valuable rainfall was recorded around its supply area.

Tamworth penned 2,034 head, a reduction of 16 per cent week-on-week, while Forbes maintained similar numbers of 1,720, in total. CTLX slipped 11 per cent and penned 2,680 cattle as Gunnedah eased 37 per cent for a total of 1,490 head. The Hunter markets at Scone and Singleton both penned fewer cattle especially Singleton falling 44 per cent , for 800 head offered.

The northern markets of Casino, Armidale and Inverell all penned substantially fewer cattle as Casino halved its numbers, while Armidale and Inverell penned around 25 per cent week-on-week. Dubbo slipped 26 per cent to pen 2,630 cattle.

Quality remains mixed

Markets continue to report percentages of prime younger cattle throughout the state; however percentage wise the unfinished pens suitable for the restocker and lot feeder orders remain the bulk offered.

Dubbo penned large numbers from the far west. The younger steers totalled 6,769 head, as younger heifers were 4,416 head. Heavy weight grown steers suitable for slaughter, halved week-on-week, for only 476 penned. Cow numbers slipped another 11 per cent , for a total of 4,738 offered.

Prices continue to trend lower

The younger vealer steers, weighing over the 200kg range and returning to the paddock lost 6¢/kg. The same weighted heifer portion to the processors trended lower by 7¢, as those suitable for the restockers lost 12¢/kg. Heavy weight prime conditioned vealers to the butchers reached 229¢/kg.

Yearling steers to the lot feeders averaged 9¢ to 12¢ cheaper, with the popular breeds still reaching 215¢/kg. Yearling heifers again found the competition weaker overall, as prices slipped 5¢ to 14¢/kg.

Heavy weight grown steers slipped 3¢ to 10¢/kg, as the heifer portion suffered greater losses. Cows sold cheaper by 7¢ to 14¢/kg. The plainer 2 scores averaged from 98¢ to 103¢, as the better covered 3 and 4 scores ranged from 93¢ to 150¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls slipped 7¢ to 14¢, as the best reached 184¢/kg.

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