Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia.
calendar icon 12 April 2010
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Larger yardings

Naracoorte kick-started the second short kill week, with the South East markets at Mt. Gambier and Millicent supplying increased numbers before the SA LE resumes next Monday.

Naracoorte more than doubled and featured a wide range of weights and quality with quite a few more non locally bred steers and cows being sold and reminding a few old hands of cattle seen at Roma and Tamworth in the past. Those pens were countered by good quality vealers and supplementary fed yearlings that all sold to very strong trade and processor competition from both SA and Victoria.

There were a number of sales above the 200¢/kg mark for vealers with again prime heifers outselling the steers after some protracted bidding. Feeder and restocker orders put a solid floor on prices for vealer, yearlings and some grown steers as rain started to fall. With the South East receiving some welcome rainfall over the past week it has kick-started a green tinge, with any more good rains over the next week perhaps leading to a tightening in numbers.

Mt. Gambier’s numbers swelled, while Millicent agents put together a slightly smaller yarding. While prime cattle were keenly sourced, some of dubious breeding and age failed to attract that much interest, although the cows and grown steer prices tended to fluctuate. Once again restocker orders kept processors honest with their purchases of D1 and D2 light and medium weights that sold up to 144¢/kg for not that much weight.

Fluctuating prices

The varying quality offered led to most categories selling at fluctuating prices due to some buyers sourcing limited numbers, and a NSW grown steer order leaving empty handed. Vealer steers in mainly 2 score condition to the trade were between 172¢ and 225¢/kg at unchanged rates. Feeder and restocker purchases of C2 steers tended to range between 172¢ and 196¢/kg, with some sales dearer and others cheaper. Vealer heifers to the trade were 6¢ to 9¢ dearer selling from 175¢ to 232¢, with mainly feeder orders securing C2 heifers from 172¢ to 185¢/kg at dearer levels. Yearling steers were around 10¢ dearer with C3 sales 176¢ to 207¢/kg and many having been bean finished and supplementary fed. Feeder orders secured large numbers of C2 steers from 172¢ to 185¢ at rates 5¢/kg dearer. Yearling heifers were also 5¢ to 12¢ dearer, with C3 sales 166¢ to 200¢/kg and supplementary feds at the higher end of prices.

With grown steer quality slipping most C3 and C4 sales were 168¢ to 184¢ and averaging close to 325¢/kg cwt. Cows were generally unchanged to 6¢ dearer as most beef 2 to 5 scores sold from 122¢ to 160¢, or 275¢ to 310¢/kg cwt.

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Green feed in the south

There was once again no cyclonic activity in the north with conditions remaining dry throughout much of the northern pastoral country. Further south in the Agricultural districts there was only light rainfall recorded with the majority of activity confined to the far south coast. Forecasts have predicted that frontal activity across the weekend will bring rainfall to the Agricultural regions with the majority of showers expected south of the Great Eastern Highway.

The germination gained from earlier rainfall prospered in many areas given the moderate temperatures and further follow-up moisture. Supplementary feeding however continues for many producers.

The long weekend impacted numbers of physical markets with Midland’s sales extremely small failing to yard 300 head, coupled with the cancellation of the southwest’s sale, as is normal over an extended weekend. The Great Southern sale however was reasonable after the two week lay-off t this market.

The numbers of pastoral cattle remains low, but agents continue to report that the dry conditions in the north will see very large supplies soon forwarded onto the market, which coincides with the opening of the new Muchea facility, early next month. The supplies of bullocks, heavy weight steers and mature heifers were all but non-existent at either yarding. Trade weight yearling steer and heifer numbers were also sold in extremely small numbers, while cow volumes at both markets were fair, given the small size of the total. Young store grades were by far the largest class to be sold and subsequently the dominant class.

Stores dominate yardings

The very strong demand that has been recorded from eastern states restockers and feeders has waned due to a combination of the increased competition and a subsequent reduction in numbers which is typical for this time of year. The combination of both has added value to store grades across both the weight and sex classes. A reduction in the supplies of quality young store cattle is also evident with the majority of last year’s vealers having now already sold. This week was no different in store classes as strong feeder demand was recorded. Further to this it was also apparent that the feeder sector is now more prepared to purchase at lighter weights and background these cattle themselves. Agents have also predicted that further pressure will be applied to the store market once rainfall is recorded across the southwest and restockers attempt to buy for grass finishing.

The few trade and heavy weight steers and heifers yarded tis week realised a solid trade demand, but the limitation of numbers does make quoting difficult. The cow market continued to gain in value as export and local processors competed for numbers with rates again dearer.

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Quality slipping

The working week was again interrupted with no Monday markets. There were more cattle penned than the previous 4 day week, but the supply was still down on a fortnight ago. To be considered at present with the seasonal conditions changing is the quality of the cattle reported across all of markets reported by MLA’s NLRS, as all yarding lots slipping in condition. Having said that, there was still a good supply of properly finished cattle, including vealers, grass finished cattle, and some supplementary fed steers and heifers.

The lack of numbers, plus mixed quality created strong demand for most of the cattle offered. The only categories to suffer any price fall were grown steers and bullocks, which occurred primarily at Shepparton and Wodonga. Some of the price changes in these sales, was due to plainer quality.

The stronger demand for vealers and yearlings resulted in a small increase in the EYCI, which closed Thursday at 351¢/kg. This is the highest point since mid March and the EYCI has not been below 340¢/kg cwt since late February. Restockers and feeders have been main drivers behind the current trend.

Despite the increasing value of the A$ over recent days, cow prices were stronger at all sales with the generally tight supply assisting demand. While processors have had to lift prices to secure enough cows, this has been offset somewhat by the 90CL price from the US increasing. On the other hand, bull prices have been unchanged to dearer.

Mixed prices

Heading into the cooler months, which is resulting in quality overall being plainer for vealers, and combined with the lack of Mondays markets due to the public holiday, demand was quite strong for all vealers. Fewer, top quality, high yielding B muscle vealers were available throughout the week, however those offered made between 209¢ and 228¢/kg. There was plenty of competition for other vealers with numerous lines and singles purchased by feedlots and restockers, as well as the trade. Most C muscle lots made from 175¢ to 210¢/kg with a strong preference occurring for lightweights. Demand for yearlings was again strong, particularly for heifers that offer some reasonable fat cover. Most of the steers made from 170¢ to 196¢, and heifers 160¢ to 184¢/kg. Some heavy yearlings made to 191¢/kg. Because of the plainer condition of some vealers and yearlings, some cattle purchased to turn out or feed made from 145¢ to 178¢/kg.

Although grown steers and bullocks were cheaper in the north of the state, the average was still very good with the better quality lines making from 165¢ to 185¢/kg. The better quality cows made between 128¢ and 160¢/kg, and the carcass weight price average was around 290¢, which was 5¢/kg higher.

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Numbers remain low

Throughput at MLA’s NLRS reported markets remained around half that of the last full week before Easter with no sales on Monday due to the public holiday. Numbers remained low at a number of the sales that were held with limited transport options on Monday. Dubbo prime sale on Thursday only had around 1000 head yarded despite no sale last week with good rainfall around the supply area restricting stock movement. Scone numbers were also well below average with the region receiving some much needed falls of rain. Numbers almost doubled at Casino but were still well below the 3000 plus yardings of previous weeks.

The good rainfall some areas of the Hunter region will stimulate early sown oats crops and gave producers some confidence going forward. They were active on good lines of vealer steers and pushed prices up 11¢/kg. Producers were also active in the north of the state with a large percentage of the vealers and yearlings at Inverell going to restockers and backgrounders at dearer rates. A similar trend was realised at Armidale for the well bred vealers with only a few suitable for processing.

Grown steers suited for export slaughter remain in short supply across the state with the grown cattle yardings dominated by cows. The grown steers that were offered mainly went to processors at firm to slightly dearer prices. Feeders and restockers competed for the light and medium weight lots with a mixed trend. Cow prices were also mixed with heavyweights selling 6¢/kg cheaper and medium weights holding firm.

Young cattle dearer

The second short week in a row resulted in a generally dearer trend although some categories struggled to hold firm. Lightweight D muscled vealer steers back to the paddock were 6¢ to 28¢ dearer with the 1 scores averaging 210¢ and the 2 score portion 221¢/kg. Medium weight vealer steers to slaughter made from 175¢ to 239¢ to be around 12¢/kg dearer. The heifer portion followed the dearer trend, lightweights to the trade averaged 200¢, up 10¢/kg. Medium weights to restockers ranged from 165¢ to 205¢ to be 4¢/kg dearer. Feeders accounted for the majority of yearling steer purchases. Medium weight C2’s lost 1¢ to make between 145¢ to 198¢/kg. Heavyweights also to feed gained 1¢ averaging 178¢ whilst those to slaughter made between 163¢ and 204¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to the trade gained 5¢ to average 167¢/kg. Medium weights to feed held firm making between 150¢ and 181¢ whilst those to process were 8¢ dearer mainly selling around 175¢/kg.

Grown steers were firm to 3¢ dearer with those to feed selling around 168¢ and those to slaughter averaging 170¢/kg. Medium cows were firm selling from 118¢ to 134¢/kg. Heavyweights were mixed, D4’s lost 6¢ while the D3’s gained 2¢/kg.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Quality declines

Despite the absence of the Toowoomba sales due to the Easter break, the supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS generally hovered around previous weeks level. The re-entry of Longreach helped to maintain numbers.

Overall quality at most centres was not up to the standard of the previous week, and smaller consignments were more prominent. Yearling steers and heifers were well supplied and a fair number of cows were penned, nevertheless only a handful of heavy steers and bullocks were offered at Warwick or Dalby.

Calves to the trade and restocker's improved 6¢ to 10¢/kg, and vealer heifers to the trade enjoyed a similar lift in price. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock received very solid demand. Average prices for feeder grades eased in places, and some of the losses could be attributed to the fall in quality. A large sample of lightweight yearling heifers to feed experienced a different trend to average 1¢/kg dearer. Medium weight lines also to feed were in demand and a good supply averaged 2¢/kg better.

A small sample of heavy steers to export slaughter averaged 9¢ better while bullocks averaged 5¢/kg dearer. Values for cows at markets early in the week generally held firm following the losses experienced the previous week. Nevertheless by midweek at Dalby prices turnaround to improve 2¢ to 3¢ and up to 6¢/kg in places. A good sample of medium weight 3 score cows improved 3¢ while good heavy cows were in the largest numbers and also lifted 3/c/kg.

Cows dearer

Calves to restocker's averaged 10¢ dearer at 207¢ and sold to 228.2¢, while trade descriptions were 6¢ better at 185¢/kg. Vealer steers returning to the paddock made to 220.2¢ to average close to 203¢ and trade descriptions averaged 187¢/kg. Vealer heifers purchased by the trade lifted in value by 10¢ to average 183¢ with a few heavy grades purchased by local butchers reaching 200¢/kg. A good sample of lightweight yearling steers sold to restocker's at close to 203¢ with a few pens reaching 216¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed averaged 7¢ cheaper at 187¢ with the occasional sale to 201.2¢/kg. Medium and heavyweights averaged in the early to mid180¢/kg range with medium weights reaching 200.2¢ and heavyweights made to 190¢/kg. Light and medium weight yearling heifers to feed both averaged close to 180¢ with lightweights making to 190¢ and medium weights 185¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter made from 170¢ to 183.6¢ to average 173¢/kg. Bullocks made to 177.6¢ with most sales 5¢ better at 171¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 2¢ dearer at 115.6¢ while 3 scores lifted 3¢ to average 126¢/kg. Good heavy cows improved a similar amount with a large sample around 138¢/kg.

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