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Australian Weekly Cattle Summary

22 August 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).

Western Australia

Consignments increase

Numbers lifted by around 400 head week-on-week, for a total of 2,960 head at both centres. Quality was a little poorer at Muchea, however it was a much better quality yarding at Mount Barker. The market was solid at both centres, with all grades except cows showing dearer trends this week.

Dearer trends

Trade steers were around firm, while the heifer portion was 5¢/kg dearer. Young cattle to feeders and restockers were a little dearer, with the better quality yarding responsible for the rise, particularly at Mount Barker.

Grown steers and heifers enjoyed rises of around 2¢ to 5¢ with the steer portion selling to 237¢/kg. Cows finished the week to be a little dearer at Mount Barker, however the average over both centres saw them selling firm for the well-finished cows and 4¢/kg cheaper for those lacking finish. Pastoral cows finished the week on a dearer note with a good selection available at Muchea. Bulls were firm in price to both the processors and live exporters.


Yardings ease

Victorian cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service eased 10 per cent week-on-week, to total 10,736 head. Throughput at Leongatha and Pakenham reduced 7 per cent and 3 per cent, to 1,078 head and 1,419 head, respectively.

Yardings at Bairnsdale improved 14 per cent, to 771 head, while Camperdown and Warrnambool both decreased by 7 per cent, to 600 head and 652 head, respectively. Throughput at Shepparton was 14 per cent lower on 2,300 head, while supply at Wodonga decreased 17 per cent, to 3,400 head.

More buyers operating

The quality of young cattle was mixed, with lines at Camperdown mostly plain. Two extra domestic processors were in attendance at Wodonga after a lengthy absence and there was an excellent selection of supplementary and crop finished yearlings yarded.

Buyers were keen to secure cows at Pakenham and Shepparton due to the tighter supply, with most categories attracting strong processor interest. Grown heifers at Leongatha attracted better interest, while buyers showed keen interest on the cows with one southern processor securing more than half the yarding. The quality of cows at Wodonga was good, and prices improved with the inclusion of a northern processor operating again.

Prices trend higher

Heavy weight B2 vealer steers to slaughter were 9¢ higher on 217¢, while the heifer portion was 4¢ dearer on 214¢/kg. Heavy weight C2 yearling steers to feed gained 4¢ to 194¢, while those C3 lines to slaughter improved 8¢ to average 203¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 and D3 yearling heifers to slaughter were 3¢ to 5¢ higher to range in price from 152¢ to 213¢/kg.

Heavy weight C3 grown steers to slaughter increased 5¢ to 200¢, while C4 and D3 bullocks lifted 5¢ to 9¢ to average from 173¢ to 210¢/kg. Heavy weight grown heifers to slaughter averaged 9¢ higher, on 175¢/kg, and all manufacturing grades sold dearer. Medium and heavy weight dairy cows lifted 6¢ to 12¢, to range in price from 112¢ to 165¢/kg. Heavy weight D3 and D4 cows to slaughter increased by around 10¢ to average 167¢/kg.


Rain helps alleviate some supply pressure

Light falls of rain over the weekend severely reduced numbers at the Toowoomba sales, and larger falls in the western regions resulted in a dramatic fall in supply at both the Roma store and prime sales. However, as the week progressed, the disappointing falls of rain across the Downs only reduced numbers at Warwick and Dalby by 15 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

The overall quality of the lightweight young cattle was mixed, while the standard of the medium and heavy weight yearling steers and heifers was generally good. The small selection of heavy grown steers and bullocks was useful and the fair line up of cows contained very few poor condition lines. A good representation of export and feeder buyers was present across all markets and, by mid-week, additional processor support was evident in the cow section.

Prices improve

Restockers displayed very little interest following the light falls of rain and buyers were generally very cautious, with the market remaining fragile. Vealer steers to feed, restock and backgrounders averaged in the high 180¢ to early 190¢/kg range, with some to 209.2¢/kg.

Slaughter classes of vealer heifers improved in price to average 166¢, with some to local butchers reaching 196.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed and restockers could not maintain the previous weeks improved prices and lost 2¢ to 11¢, with most at 191¢/kg.

Feeder buyers displayed an urgency to purchase stock and at times were in direct competition with processors and prices lifted by 5¢ to 10¢/kg. Medium weights averaged 192¢ and made to 207.2¢ and heavyweights averaged 190¢ and made to 205¢/kg. This trend also flowed on to the heifer portion, with improvements of 11¢ to 13¢/kg. Medium and heavy weights averaged close to 175¢, with both weight ranges reaching 187.2¢/kg.

Grown steers also received stronger demand from feeder operators to average 178¢, with sales to 190¢/kg to return $1,100/head. Bullocks improved 9¢ to average 185¢, with sales to 198.2¢, while a couple of heavy certified grainfeds made to 217.2¢/kg. Cows lifted in price by 10¢ to 15¢, with medium weight 2 scores averaging 123¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to 168.2¢ to average 157¢/kg.

South Australia

Supply close to firm

Total SA cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, was similar week-on-week, lifting just 1 per cent to 2,567 head. Throughput at Mount Gambier was 15 per cent higher, at 987 head, with Naracoorte gaining 2 per cent to pen 1,160 head. The SA Livestock Exchange, however, saw cattle numbers reduce by 24 per cent for a yarding of 420 head.

Competition strengthens

Quality improved significantly at both the SA Livestock Exchange and Naracoorte this week, with more very good quality supplementary fed yearlings available, while at Mount Gambier many of the cattle lacked the condition of previous yardings. Competition was strong at all markets, with added trade buyers again present at Naracoorte. Wholesalers and butchers bid keenly on the increased offering of veal at the SA Livestock Exchange, while a mixed cow yarding at Mount Gambier was met with frenetic processor activity.

Heavy cows dearer

Heavy C3 vealer steers to slaughter lifted 9¢, averaging 211¢, while their heifer equivalents gained 7¢, settling on 198¢/kg. Medium weight C2 yearling steers to restock were significantly cheaper and averaged 179¢, while heavy C2’s to feeder buyers eased 6¢ to 195¢, and heavy C3’s to processors slipped 4¢ to settle around 192¢/kg. Medium C3 yearling heifers to slaughter gained 4¢, on 181¢, while heavy weights were close to firm week-on-week and averaged 182¢/kg.

An increased supply of C3 bullocks to processors sold 3¢ lower, topping at 206¢ and averaging 197¢, while heavy D3 dairy manufacturing steers were up 2¢ on 174¢/kg. Medium D2 beef bred cows to slaughter gained 3¢, averaging 135¢/kg. Heavy D3 and 4 cows gained improved by 10¢, with the dairy lots averaging 155¢ and the beef cows on 158¢/kg. Heavy B2 bulls remained firm on 148¢/kg.

New South Wales

Cattle numbers decline

Overall cattle consignments slipped 35 per cent, mainly due to substantial rain throughout the state, for a total of 16,643 offered at MLA’s NLRS reported markets this week. Wagga lost 33 per cent, to total 3,800 head, as Forbes halved its numbers and penned 1,650 head. Tamworth also halved its numbers, as CTLX slipped 22 per cent, for a total of 1,890 head.

Gunnedah offered a small penning of 620 cattle. The Hunter markets of Scone and Singleton trended differently, as Scone penned close to firm numbers at 913 head, while Singleton lost 34 per cent and offered 400 head. The northern market of Armidale again penned low numbers, at 296 head, as Inverell more than halved. Casino increased 7 per cent and offered 1,288 cattle. Dubbo lost 34 per cent of its total week-on-week, for a penning of 4,610 head.

Quality overall improves

Overall quality throughout the state improved, however secondary cattle at Wagga were well supplied. The majority at Forbes were well finished, while quality at Tamworth was mixed, with the bulk yarded falling into the yearling categories.

At CTLX the younger cattle, together with the grown steers and heifers, were well supplied, as Gunnedah penned a higher percentage of well finished cattle. Supplementary fed and crop finished yearlings suitable for the trade were well represented at Scone, with the yearling heifers and heavy cattle, both steers and cows, well supplied at Dubbo.

Prices trend firm to dearer

The younger cattle throughout the majority of the weight classes lifted 4¢ to 8¢/kg. The heavy weight yearling steers to the butcher orders averaged 202¢, as the best reached 224¢, with the B muscles topping at 230¢/kg.

The equivalent weighted yearling heifers sold to the same orders averaged 187¢, as the best reached 208¢/kg. Grown steers suitable for slaughter remained firm to 8¢ dearer, to average 191¢ to 199¢, as the best topped at 214¢/kg. Cows lifted another 9¢ to 12¢/kg week-on-week. The plainer 2 scores averaged 131¢, as the better covered 3 and 4 scores ranged from 115¢ to 189¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls lifted 6¢ and reached 210¢/kg.

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