Cattle prices steady

AUSTRALIA - Nationally, cattle numbers fell 7% at MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards, with widespread rain and a shorter trading week restricting supply. Prices were steady and were largely determined by quality. The national trade steer indicator improved 1¢, to
calendar icon 15 June 2007
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192¢/kg lwt. The Japan ox indicator was unchanged, at 173¢ and the US cow indicator fell 2¢, to average 126¢/kg lwt.

Less numbers, mixed quality

Nationally, cattle throughput at MLA’s NLRS reported sales have been affected by the shorter trading week. Markets in rain affected areas were reduced, but noticeably outside these areas numbers have remained equal to last week. Many producers who operate a mixed farming enterprise have recently focused their attention to planting much needed crops, reducing throughput.

The quality of cattle offered has fallen, being largely influenced by the colder weather and the change over from dry to green feed. With quality mixed, and reduced numbers suitable for slaughter, demand for better finished lines of cattle has increased. Across Queensland, seasonal conditions have improved in the past couple of weeks, with reasonable rain received in most regions. Despite the slight improvements in the season, supplies have held steady, since returning to typical levels from the large numbers experienced some weeks ago. Queensland indicators have received good price gains across export steer categories and have come back fractionally for others. Yearling steers lost 4¢ to average 175¢/kg lwt. Good numbers of medium steers dropped 1¢ to 166¢/kg, to be in line with the national average. Japan ox prices made gains of 2¢, to 172¢/kg. Cows came back from the highs of last week, to match the national average at 126¢. Feeder steers also dropped in value to 167¢/kg lwt, which is well below the national average.

Throughout NSW, the seasonal outlook has improved substantially, after recent rains received in the central, coastal, south and north west regions. Supplies have reduced, as has the quality of livestock offered. Suitable numbers of cattle for slaughter are scarce, with the better finished cattle meeting very strong demand. Indicators for NSW have shown mixed results. Vealer steer prices have remained firm at 195¢/kg lwt, yearling steers were up 5¢ to 195¢, and cows increased 1¢, to reach 128¢ – 2¢ higher than the national average of 126¢/kg.

Victoria is yet to receive the rain experienced last month, but the season has made improvements. The warmer than average start to winter has helped pasture growth, but as the colder temperatures set in, growth will decline. Throughput is down across many centres covered by MLA’s NLRS. Prices received have remained high and have exceeded national averages in most categories. Average cow prices are again dearer at 132¢/kg lwt.

The south east of SA has received further falls of rain for the month, helping conditions marginally. Supply is down and the quality has evidently slipped. Cows have made good gains on relatively high prices to reach 136¢/kg lwt.

The northern areas of WA had a relatively good season, as producers have been holding numbers back to feed on for live export. The south of the state has been very patchy as producers continue to destock. Many producers in cropping areas have been dry planting seed and are in need of good rain in the coming weeks to improve the prospects for a crop.

The benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) at the completion of Thursday’s sales was down 3.25¢ on last week, settling at 333.75¢/kg cwt.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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