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 11 June 2010
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Hope of rain next week

Seasonal conditions in the southern Agricultural regions remain very patchy with only limited rain recorded in the past seven days. Most of this was recorded in the southwest and southern coastal regions. Feed conditions in these areas remain fair, but with cold temperatures now the norm pasture growth from here on in will be slow. But in most areas rain recordings remain below average and forecasts bring little joy until at least early next week, where shower activity only has been predicted.

The northern pastoral regions continue to battle dry conditions and this has only be exacerbated by problems in protocols into Indonesia which has curtailed much of the live export activity normally witnessed out of the north at this time of year. The affects of a weight restriction of 350kg lwt is yet to be fully understood as to how it will impact n southern markets, where many trade weight yearlings were shipped out of Fremantle this year. This is a main talking point throughout much of industry.

Cattle numbers were lower with a long weekend having an impact on Muchea’s numbers. The Great Southern also had fewer numbers penned but this is not unexpected at this time of year. Pastoral cattle volumes were fair, while local supplies were lower than the previous week. As has been the case for several months now the supplies of both trade and heavy weight steers and heifers remained negligible. Cow volumes continued to be reasonable with store grades again very buoyant at all physical markets.

Store numbers again solid

The numbers of vealers continue to be negligible. Most were lightweights with quality continuing to be very mixed. Demand from the local retail trade remains solid on prime drafts with restocker demand from the southwest also healthy on plainer conditions lots. Certified grain fed yearling volumes remained fair and in line with recent supplies. Quality was also fair and local processor demand resulted in firm prices paid with the market also under pinned by feeder interest. Grass finished yearling supplies remained tight with quality generally plain and both steers and heifers were purchased predominately by the feeder sector for finishing. Yearling store numbers were healthy throughout the various physical markets. Although last week there was dampening feeder demand, this week there was a levelling out of this factor and rates for both medium and heavy weight steers and heifers remained firm. This more selective feeder interest is obviously being driven by the time of year and that grass finished cattle should be plentiful by September.

Demand from the processing trade for cows continued to be solid with good competition at all markets with a slight firming of prices recorded on better quality heavy weight classes.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Greater numbers

Considering there is no sale next week owing to the public holiday the supply of stock experienced very little change at the early week markets. However the improved prices paid last week at Mareeba attracted a much larger yarding with light cull cows accounting for a fair percentage of the increase. The deteriorating seasonal conditions in the Roma and Dalby supply areas resulted in greater numbers coming forward lifting overall supply at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS by 20 per cent.

Producers are tending to offload stock while most of the grown cattle are still in fair to good condition. However the recent run of damp, cold weather was reflected in the quality of the young cattle. Lesser quality lines in the younger grades tended to struggle at times nevertheless well bred grades still commanded a fairly high rate, as restocker's provided a very solid base in the calves and vealer steer portion. Yearling grades to feed at the commencement of the week met a firm trend however by midweek values for the steer portion experienced a price correction of up to 9¢/kg.

Values for export grades of heavy steers and bullocks at early week markets battled to maintain the previous weeks rates and as the week progressed a cheaper trend was evident and across all markets for the week bullocks lost 6¢/kg. Cows followed a similar trend commencing the week making to within 1¢ or 2¢ of firm, and by midweek as supply began to outweigh demand the better heavy end of the cows eased in value by 6¢ to 9¢/kg.

Export grades cheaper

Calves returning to the paddock made to a top of 229.2¢ in pen lots with most close to 197¢, while calves to the trade averaged 177¢/kg. The largest percentage of vealer steers sold to restocker's at 206¢ while one with show ring potential made to 226.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade lost 5¢ with a large sample averaging 168¢, and a handful of heavy B muscle lines sold to local butchers at 213.2¢/kg. A large supply of lightweight yearling steers sold to restocker's at 212¢ with occasional sales to 228¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed across all markets averaged 3¢ less at 185¢/kg. Large numbers of lightweight yearling heifers sold to both feed and restocker's in the early 170¢/kg range and medium weights to feed averaged just under 170¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed averaged 6¢ less at 175¢ and sold to 182.2¢/kg. Good heavy bullocks lost 6¢ to average 171¢ with the occasional pen to 186.2¢/kg. Cows were generally well supplied and medium weight 2 scores averaged 114¢, while 3 scores mostly sold around 127¢/kg. Good heavy cows generally sold 6¢ cheaper at just under 140¢ with a few pens reaching 155¢/kg.

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Mixed quality

The last long weekend for the next three months is upon us, but despite this there was a drop in supply at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS. Only Monday markets are affected, which sees Ballarat and Pakenham not operating next week, and both of these sales offered fewer cattle. It was only Shepparton and Wodonga in the north of the state where more cattle were penned.

As we head into the depths of winter quality becomes an issue, and this was evident at all markets. However, this appeared to make little or no difference in demand, as strong feedlot competition aiding a general increase in prices. Most categories were able to record gains of between 2¢ and 10¢/kg. Even though there is one working day out the next week, the reduced supply in all categories sparked stronger, and at some sales, greater competition amongst the regular buyers.

Because of the cold conditions there are a number of plain condition cattle coming onto the market, but there were still some very good quality cattle penned in all classes. This resulted in some grown cattle attaining prices that were only paid for better quality yearlings not very long ago. As prices have been improving at physical markets, processors are offered fewer cattle over the hooks, which in turns increased demand. Some processors, particularly export works are expected to close soon for their annual winter maintenance period. As feedlots look to keep winter supply flowing, competition between them, processors and restockers kept plainer condition cattle at higher rates.

Dearer prices

While prices for most vealers realised little change, it is becoming harder to the better quality lots due to the time of year with most making 200¢ to 227¢/kg which was slightly dearer. Due to that strong interaction between feedlots, restockers and processors, secondary vealers, and some yearlings made from 165¢ to 200¢/kg. Some of the larger price gains recorded were for heifers, as these tend to hold condition better in the cold months. Most yearling heifers made from 165¢ to 196¢/kg. Certified grain and supplementary fed yearlings made between 185¢ and 225¢/kg. Yearling heifers made from 165¢ to 202¢ with an average for better quality of 186¢/kg achieved. Prices for heavy yearlings reached as high as 196¢ for steers, and 187¢/kg for the heifers.

Extra competition form interstate assisted bullocks reaching 196¢, and C muscle grades averaged 185¢/kg. Cows sold very well, particularly beef cows. Prices for better quality 3 and 4 score cows were from 142¢ to 172¢/kg. Heavy Friesian cows sold to 159¢, but most plain condition cows made between 110¢ and 145¢/kg to be firm to 4¢/kg dearer.

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Increased numbers

While the SA LE’s numbers almost doubled, it contained a generally good quality yarding with many having been supplementary fed. They sold to the usual trade and processor buyers, with an additional Victorian order present to add to the solid demand. Supply outstripped demand as the sale progressed and led to some prices easing later in the sale for lightweight prime yearling steers, while the heavyweights attracted processor bidding. Feeders and restockers were also active and sourced a few vealer steers and heifers, together with quite a few yearling steers and limited run of heifers.

Naracoorte’s similar sized yarding witnessed quality slipping on the previous week’s improved yarding. However, this did not deter the solid competition emanating from the usual SA and Victorian trade and processor buyers at generally dearer levels.

Mt. Gambier’s numbers rose a couple of hundred head with quality improving mainly on the grown steers and some cows. There was solid trade, local butcher and processor competition as the financial year winds down, and before some processors start their annual maintenance breaks.

The strong competition from a local processor led to grown steer, grown heifers and cow prices rising, with some sales of prime heavyweight and younger cows selling above the 170¢/kg lwt mark that left a couple of Victorian processors out of the equation. This was assisted by the A$ slipping back nearer to the 80c mark. Feeder and restocker orders were quite active and threw down the gauntlet to the trade numerous times on a mixture of vealers, yearlings and cows.

Fluctuating trends

There were fluctuating trends for most young cattle, while being dearer for the export categories. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 185¢ to 214¢ with C3 lightweights 12¢ cheaper, and the heavier steers up to 6c/kg dearer. Feeder ad restocker orders sourced C2 steers from 185¢ to 201¢ at generally dearer levels. Vealer heifers to the trade sold from 170¢ to 213¢ with some sales 1¢ to 4¢ cheaper and others 6¢/kg dearer. The C2 heifers to feeder and restockers sold from 175¢ to 190¢/kg at mainly dearer levels. Yearling steers in 3 score condition sold to wholesalers from 165¢ to 214¢ with supplementary feds at higher end, to be 1c/kg dearer for C3 sales. Feeders and restockers sourced a wide range of quality from 148¢ to 192c/kg. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 sales ranged from 160¢ to 196¢, with medium weights 3¢ cheaper and the heavyweights 1¢ to 4¢/kg dearer.

Grown steers were 3¢ to 15¢ dearer, with C3 and C4 sales mainly 175¢ to 194¢ or 325¢ to 360¢/kg cwt. Most 3 to 5 score beef cows sold from 135¢ to 172¢ or 1¢ to 12¢/kg dearer, and mainly in a 285¢ to 340¢/kg cwt price range.

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Throughput rebounds

Throughput at MLA’s NLRS reported markets increased 28 per cent compared to last week. Most yardings increased after last weeks sales were reduced due to rain across much of the state and no sales next week due to the long weekend. Wagga, Casino, Forbes and Inverell recorded the largest increases being 60 per cent, 25 per cent, 59 per cent and 103 per cent respectively. Singleton and Armidale were the only markets to go against the trend with a fall of 36 per cent and 17 per cent with many of the producers in the area having already offloaded stock before winter.

There was a general increase in quality across the state although there were still plenty of plainer lines offered. Prime finished cattle are still in short supply although a few crop finished pens were presented at Armidale and some well finished milk vealers at Inverell and Casino.

Most of the usual buyers were present with a bit more restocker activity evident. Producers were keen to secure light and medium weight cows, buying more than double than last week, although at prices generally 3¢/kg lower. Vealer steers were also keenly contested with 24 per cent more secured to return to the paddock around 5¢/kg dearer. On the whole feeders and processors paid lower prices although better quality pens still managed to make better money than last week. Cows to slaughter sold 1¢ higher while feeders paid 2¢ to 4¢/kg less for yearlings.

Most over the hooks rates recorded a dearer trend as the supply of quality cattle slips. Yearlings and lightweight cows recorded the best gains while Japan ox slipped.

Prices vary with quality

Lightweight vealer steers to restockers slipped 7¢ to average 198¢, medium weights also returning to the paddock sold around 200¢/kg. Medium weight vealer steers to slaughter averaged 182¢ while heavyweights to turn out were firm at 200¢/kg. Lightweight C muscled vealer heifers to the trade were 11¢ cheaper selling from 155¢ to 190¢/kg. Medium weight vealer heifers to slaughter averaged 180¢ while those to restock made 178¢/kg. Heavyweight C3 pens to trade buyers improved 2¢ averaging 190¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed lost 4¢ selling between 172¢ and 203¢, those back to the paddock averaged 187¢/kg. Medium weights to feed and restock mostly sold firm to slightly dearer while C3’s to processors were 5¢ cheaper at 191¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed were firm to 4¢ dearer selling in the high 180¢/kg range. Yearling heifers mostly sold firm to 3¢/kg dearer. Lightweights to restock averaged 170¢ while medium weights to slaughter averaged 178¢ and heavyweights 177¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers were 7¢ to 8¢ cheaper, averaging from 183¢ to 188¢/kg. Heavyweights to slaughter were firm selling in a wide range from 155¢ to 189¢/kg. Restockers paid around 127¢ for light and medium weight cows while processors paid 148¢ for heavyweight D3’s and 144¢/kg for D4’s.

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