Cattle price slide

AUSTRALIA - Despite national cattle supply slipping 16%, prices have continued to fall as processors remain inundated, particularly in southern states.
calendar icon 20 October 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Suffering the largest falls were feeder steers, which dropped 40¢ to 144¢/kg lwt while trade steers eased 6¢ to 158¢/kg lwt. Grown steers were not immune to the cheaper prices as Japan ox slipped 3¢ to 171¢/kg lwt. Cows continued the price slide to average 99¢, a fall of 13¢/kg lwt on last week.

Grown steer supply tighter

Overall numbers at MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards were 16% lower than last week’s offering. In comparison to the same time last year, however, throughput was 46% higher. Grown steers represented 13% of the yarding, with numbers remaining hard to source, particularly of grassfed stock.

With so many young cattle being sold off during August and September, along with the high price of supplementary feed, it is not surprising that grown steer numbers are remaining tight. Nationally, grown steer numbers were 16% lower than last week, with lower consignments in northern and central Queensland contributing to this trend. There has been some seller resistance to the price falls in areas with adequate feed reserves, but in most areas producers have no option but to offload stock.

Most cattle going onto grain to be grown out are already contracted, with only limited southern Queensland custom-feeding enquiry due to the high cost of feeding at present. This may have an effect on the availability of grainfed cattle for delivery in February and March next year. Plainer quality cattle that would usually go onto feed or back to the paddock are now going direct to slaughter, which will impact on supply early next year.

Any additional supply at sales this week was of predominantly female cattle. Cows represented 22% and heifers of all ages made up 30% of the total market volume. This surplus female stock felt the full extent of the downward market trend, with stock usually withheld for future breeding purposes, and lighter, younger females that would usually command restocker enquiry, receiving mixed demand.

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