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Australian Weekly Cattle Summary

06 February 2015

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

Increase in numbers following the short week

SA cattle supply, as reported by the MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, rebounded due to the return to a full trading week, with both the SA Livestock Exchange and Millicent back in operation. The 66 per cent increase in throughput across the state was also driven by yardings of 2,640 head at Mount Gambier, an increase of 15 per cent , and 1,865 head in Naracoorte, up 48 per cent on last week’s sale.

Rise in restocker activity

With the usual host of trade and processor buyers in attendance, markets were competitive and there was additional restocker activity this week. Quality was mixed across all sales and restockers secured some yearlings and cows, with the better quality lines selling to processors and to feeders.

Prices hold firm with marginal increases

With the exception of the SA Livestock Exchange, where prices were firm to slightly easier, the state experienced a marginal lift in cattle prices across the majority of categories. Vealer steer and heifers increased 1¢ to 7¢ and averaged 231¢ and 228¢/kg, respectively. The majority of yearling steers yarded were heavy C3’s and these averaged 223.5¢, representing a 24¢/kg increase. Yearling heifers of similar weight and condition fetched an average of 213¢, a 10¢/kg lift. Heavy grown steers and bullocks averaged approximately 224¢, with increases of 2¢ to 7¢/kg on last week. The majority of heavy grown heifers returned an average price of 214¢, up 9c/kg. Cows in average condition averaged from 173c to 194c, jumping 8¢ to 14¢/kg.


New South Wales 

Cattle consignments increase

The return to normal selling, after the previous shorter week, produced larger numbers, with a total of 32,726 cattle offered at the MLA NLRS markets, up 44 per cent week-on-week. Wagga penned 6,145 head while Tamworth and Forbes offered 2,748 head and 3,167 head, respectively. CTLX increased 11 per cent to 4,070 cattle and Gunnedah and Inverell defied the higher trends and eased 9 per cent and 28 per cent , respectively.

The Hunter markets both trended higher, as Scone lifted 3 per cent to 1,653 head while Singleton increased by 7 per cent to 925 head. The northern sales of Armidale and Casino both increased in number, with Armidale yarding 1,156 head, up 23 per cent week-on-week, and Casino offering 2,700 cattle, up 11 per cent . Dubbo lifted 38 per cent , for a total of 6,200 head.

Quality was fair to good

Quality, on average, over the state was fair to good, with the improved seasonal conditions improving the finish on the majority of cattle. There were 8,389 head and 7,312 head of the younger steers and heifers marketed, respectively, with the bulk entering the yearling category. Grown steers throughout all weight ranges totalled 2,696 head, while cows, again, made up the bulk of the grown cattle, numbering 5,962 head.

Prices firm to cheaper

The medium weight vealer steers that returned to the paddock averaged 2c dearer, topping at 300c, with the bulk making around the 256c/kg range. The equivalent weighted heifer portion gained 4c, selling from 209c to 260c/kg. The medium and heavy weight yearling steers to the feeders and restockers remained firm to 6c cheaper, averaging from 247c to 250c after reaching 273c/kg. The lighter end of the yearling heifers to the restockers improved 2c to 5c/kg, while the heavier drafts maintained firm values. Well-finished younger cattle to the trade continued to sell well, with the best yearling steers reaching 269c/kg.

The heavy weight grown steers, suitable for slaughter, averaged 2c to 3c either side of firm, with the majority selling around the 228c to 235c after topping at 255c/kg. Cows trended 2c to 7c cheaper, with the plainer 2 scores averaging 170c/kg. The 3 and 4 scores topped at 230c, with the bulk making around 192c to 204c/kg. Heavy weight bulls averaged 236c, with the best reaching 260c/kg.



Numbers lift following wet weather and price rises

A return to a full working week, combined with a lift in prices the previous week, increased supply by 40 per cent week-on-week to 22,022 head at physical markets covered by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service. Overall quality was generally good however the vast majority of the young cattle sold to feeder operators or restockers.

Heavy grown steers and bullocks continued to be in short supply, while most of the larger yarding of cows contained mainly 3 and 4 score classes. A full panel of exporters were present and operating at most sales and some follow-up rain in places encouraged a good line-up of restockers into the market. However at mid-week sales some of the feeder buyers of the previous week were absent.

Mixed quality draws variety of buyers

Restockers pushed poor condition light weight yearling steers to record levels with a consignment of 120 head from Bourke in NSW reaching 330.2c/kg. The remainder of the light weight yearling steers returning to the paddock mostly sold around 265c/kg. The larger number of medium weight yearling steers to feed allowed average prices to ease by 2c to 4c, with most in the 250c range and some to 271.2c/kg. Heavy feeders were also well supplied and averaged 2c cheaper, at 257c, with the occasional pen reaching 274.2c/kg.

Restockers were very keen to purchase poor condition light weight yearling heifers with some also from Bourke reaching 269.2c, while the remainder returning to the paddock averaged in the high 220c/kg range. Medium weight C2 yearling heifers to feed averaged 15c less, at 227c, while the better lines only averaged 4c easier, averaging 236c/kg. Local trade lines eased 14c, averaging 225c with some to 250.2c/kg.

Mixed trends for grown cattle

Heavy grown steers and bullocks averaged in the mid-to high 240c range, with the occasional pen of bullocks reaching 261.2c/kg. Cows experienced a mixed trend, commencing the week on a firm to dearer trend however by mid-week the larger supply resulted in some variation to price trends. Medium weight 2 scores average 173c and the 3 scores made 199c/kg. Good heavy cows still managed to reach 239.2c, averaging 222c/kg.


Western Australia

Quality slides and dry conditions continue

Hot and dry conditions continue to impact water supplies and stock condition across many areas of WA with southern regions also experiencing storms and fires. Competition remains very strong across all categories and live export demand is making an impact in all sectors except cows. Muchea numbers remained similar with 2,019 head offered and the yarding included solid supplies of pastoral heifers and cows, with moderate numbers of local young cattle. Summer weaner and breeder sales continued at Mt Barker and Boyanup with trade cattle available at both southern markets. In the southern sale zone, close to 4,500 young cattle suitable for feeders and restockers were available along with 1,700 head of trade and processor drafts. Cattle quality was mixed with limited good trade drafts available. Local young cattle condition continued to slip due to hot, dry conditions but overall quality remained good. Strong processor, restocker and live export competition continued with prices mostly improving for most categories at all markets.

Trade cattle and store prices increase

Prime trade cattle prices increased marginally due to tight supply, with vealer steers averaging 255¢, with vealer heifers at 244¢/kg. Yearling steers averaged close to 248¢ at Muchea with yearling heifers from 230¢ to 245¢/kg, to be dearer again this week.

Store steer prices were mixed with vealer steers between 220¢ and 271¢ and the heavier drafts to feeders were firm at 254¢/kg. Yearling steers remained firm, selling between 220¢ and 258¢/kg. Reasonable supplies of local heifers were also mixed in price at both Muchea and the southern markets. Vealer heifers made from 200¢ to 268¢, with heavier drafts to feeders back slightly, although those to live export averaged close to 255¢/kg and were much dearer. Yearling heifers made from 190¢ to 235¢/kg, to be cheaper as quality slipped.

Grown cattle prices slightly lift

Grown steer and heifer prices were up slightly. Pastoral grown steers made from 190¢ to 248¢, with local drafts from 225¢ to 257¢/kg. Grown heifers sold to 250¢, with most from 196¢ to 236¢/kg.

Cow prices lifted again with heavy D3 and D4 and better medium weight cows making from 186¢ to 239¢, up 7¢/kg. The D2 cows were also dearer with prices between 165¢ and 222¢/kg. Light weight and plain cows sold between 120¢ and 192¢/kg. Bull prices lifted for heavy weights to processors, making from 180¢ to 242¢ and lighter weight bulls to live export markets were firm, priced between 180¢ and reaching 250¢/kg for the better light weight bulls.


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