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Australian Weekly Cattle Summary

19 December 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

Rainfall in the north

Northern pastoral regions saw moderate falls this week, along with rising temperatures, which should limit pastoral supply in the New Year. Muchea numbers increased 550 week-on-week, with pastoral cattle numbers remaining similar. Summer weaner sales continued at Mount Barker and Boyanup, with trade cattle available at both southern markets.

In the southern sale zones, close to 3,300 young cattle suitable for feeders and restockers were available, along with 1,200 head of trade and processor drafts. Pastoral cattle quality was very mixed with limited good young heifers and only small numbers of steers suitable for live export and feed.

Local young cattle quality remained good and prime trade supply was moderate. Strong processor, restocker and live export competition continued with prices remaining good for all categories at all markets, as the better young feeder and restocker drafts continued to achieve strong prices and bull and cow prices improved.

Prices remain strong

Prime trade cattle remained strong, with the vealer steers at Muchea selling between 245¢ and 255¢ and vealer heifers sold from 250¢ to 255¢/kg. Yearling steers made 210¢ to 235¢, back 5¢, with yearling heifers from 190¢ to 230¢, also 3¢/kg easier.

Grown steer and heifer prices were firm at all sales. Pastoral grown steers made 150¢ to 199¢, with local drafts from 183¢ to 217¢/kg. Grown pastoral heifers sold to 195¢, with most from 150¢ to 175¢/kg. Local grown heifers made 170¢ to 215¢/kg.

Cow prices continued their dearer trend, with heavy D3 and D4 and better medium weight cows making 160¢ and 190¢/kg. The D2 cows were equal with prices between 140¢ and 170¢g. Light weight and plain cows lifted 2¢, with most between 120¢ and 145¢/kg. Bull prices remained strong, with heavy bulls making 140¢ to 195¢ and light weight bulls sold between 200¢ and 240¢/kg.

Store prices ease

Store steer prices eased marginally with vealer steers making between 215¢ and 278¢/kg. Yearling steers slipped 5¢, selling between 200¢ and 235¢/kg. Pastoral steer drafts were similar with export feeders paying 180¢ to 224¢/kg. Pastoral heifer averages fell 10¢, with prices between 120¢ and 188¢/kg, as there was less quality light weight young drafts available. Reasonable supplies of local heifers were 5¢ easier in price with vealer heifer sales between 200¢ and 235¢ and yearling heifers making 180¢ to 232¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers decrease

The last weekly markets for 2014 recorded 31 per cent fewer cattle, at MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards, with 18,471 head yarded across the state. Wagga decreased 7 per cent , for a total of 4,500 head, and Tamworth slipped 37 per cent , at 1,158 head. Supply at Forbes eased four per cent to 2,304 cattle, while CTLX yardings tumbled 42 per cent to 2,000 head. Gunnedah went against the trend and lifted six per cent to 2,950 head, while the Hunter markets of Scone and Singleton both penned fewer cattle. The northern markets of Inverell and Casino yarded 945 head and 164 head, respectively, and Dubbo halved in number for a total of 2,830 head.

Quality overall remains mixed

At Wagga, there was a reasonable supply of yearlings suitable for the trade, together with a good supply of secondary cattle. Tamworth offered a good run of yearlings, with the well-finished heifers well-supplied. CTLX offered primarily yearlings and cows, with Gunnedah also penning large runs of cows. The Hunter markets had good percentages of well-finished high yielding young cattle on offer, while Dubbo presented a good selection of cows and plainer cattle in from the far west.

Prices trend firm to higher

Vealer steers sold firm, with prices for the lighter end to the restockers ranging from 155¢ to 245¢ and heavier prime-conditioned pens to the butchers lifting 10¢ and topping at 234¢/kg. The heifer portion to the restockers also sold firm, while the prime-conditioned pens to butchers lifted 4¢ and reached 232¢/kg. The yearling steers lifted 6¢ to 10¢, with the medium weights to the restockers and lot feeders averaging from 204¢ to 211¢ after reaching a top 224¢/kg. Prime-conditioned heavy weights to butchers maintained firm prices and averaged 192¢, with the best reaching 219¢/kg. The yearling heifers across most weight ranges remained firm to 10¢/kg dearer.

The majority of the grown steers sold to lot feeder orders, with the best to the processors topping at 206¢/kg. Cows sold 2¢ to 3¢ either side of firm and the plainer two scores averaged 143¢/kg. The better covered 3 and 4 scores averaged from 149¢ to 158¢, with the best reaching 186¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls topped at 214¢/kg.


Numbers fall before Christmas break

With Bairnsdale not operating this week and the Christmas break looming, Victorian cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, decreased 30 per cent to 12,477 head. All saleyards – with the exception of Ballarat which increased 17 per cent to 684 head – recorded fewer consignments.

Wodonga and Shepparton, after last week’s larger yardings, decreased 24 per cent and 33 per cent , respectively, to 2,900 head and 2,400 head. Pakenham was back 8 per cent , at 2,120 head, and numbers at Warrnambool decreased slightly, at 1,951 head. Leongatha was back 70 per cent , at 783 head, while Camperdown and Colac yarded 999 head and 640 head, respectively.

Feeder competition steady as exporter demand eases

Young cattle quality was very good across all weights and grades at Wodonga and feeder buyers dominated yearling steer categories. With reduced export processor competition leading up to the Christmas break, cow prices at Wodonga and Shepparton sold to a cheaper trend, however both markets recorded improvements in heavy grown steer and bullock prices.

Feeder buyers were active on young cattle at Warrnambool, purchasing lines at a dearer trend, and, despite one northern exported being absent, another returned to push heavy cow prices higher. Demand was steady at Pakenham and prices across all categories were mostly firm to slightly dearer and a northern buyer returned to Camperdown to help lift cow prices 5¢ to 6¢/kg.

Prices firm

Prices trended either side of firm across most categories. Heavy C3 vealer steers to trade eased 1¢, averaging 193¢, while the heifer portion improved 2¢, averaging 184¢/kg. Selling to feeder buyers, medium C2 yearling steers improved 4¢ to 182¢, while heavy C2 lines eased 2¢ to 189¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling steers to slaughter were firm on 185¢, while the same heifer portion improved 1¢ to 175¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers to processors eased 1¢, averaging 184¢, while C4 bullocks improved 2¢, averaging 185¢/kg. Medium D2 manufacturing dairy steers eased 2¢, averaging 158¢, while medium D3 manufacturing steers were firm on 168¢/kg. Heavy D1 dairy cows eased 1¢, averaging 123¢, while D2 lines improved 2¢, averaging 143¢/kg. Heavy D3 cows to slaughter improved 1¢, averaging 150¢, while D4 lines eased 2¢, averaging 152¢ and selling to a top of 165¢/kg.

South Australia

Numbers lift

Overall SA cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, lifted 30 per cent week-on-week, with Millicent’s fortnightly sale in operation and penning 810 head. Mount Gambier lifted 26 per cent , with 1,932 head yarded, while Naracoorte decided to combine its split sales this week and, as a result, numbers more than doubled for an offering of 2,380 head. The SA Livestock Exchange was the only market to see numbers come back for the last sale of the year, easing 29 per cent to total 297 head of cattle.

Buyer attendance mixed

Quality was mixed at all sales this week and buyer attendance varied, with a larger gallery of processors and small butchers at the SA Livestock Exchange, but fewer buyers were operating at Millicent and Mount Gambier. There was less quality available in Mount Gambier’s penning of grown steers week-on-week, although some good quality vealers continued to come forward, as was the case at the SA Livestock Exchange. Millicent’s yarding consisted mainly of vealers, the majority of which were B muscled types, although despite the quality on offer prices trended cheaper.

Markets ease overall

Heavy weight B3 vealer steers to processors were 5¢ dearer, averaging 198¢, while those returning to the paddock eased marginally; back 1¢ to 188¢/kg. Heavy B3 vealer heifers to slaughter slipped 6¢, however, settling on an average price of 182¢/kg. Yearlings were in fairly limited numbers, and the heavy C3 steers were purchased by processors 7¢ cheaper week-on-week to average 171¢, while their heifer counterparts came back 9¢ to return around 165¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers to slaughter averaged 179¢, back 6¢, although the bullocks were close to firm on 176¢/kg. Light weight grown heifers were well supplied, with a run of C3’s easing 11¢ to return vendors 165¢/kg. Heavy D3’s and D4’s made up to bulk of the cow yarding, and they improved 23¢ to 30¢ to average from 144¢ to 150¢/kg.



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