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 16 July 2010
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Quality improves

A reduction of 16% was recorded across MLA's NLRS reported markets as the majority yarded smaller numbers. Gunnedah offered one of the smallest sales on record as just on 770 head were yarded. Only Armidale, Forbes, Inverell and Wagga were able to pen increased supplies. The rain forecast for the middle of the week was a major factor behind yardings declining. Also impacting on supply was the rather large turnoff late last year and earlier this year due to dry weather conditions.

Even though we are a far way in to winter quality was improved on recent weeks at most centres. There were greater numbers of finished lines with a considerable portion having been off crop or supplementary fed. Young cattle and grown steers were the greatest improvements were noted. There was however still fair runs that were plainer lines suited to feeders or restockers. Young cattle dominated as grown cattle accounted for just on 30% of the states throughput. Almost two thirds of the young cattle were yearlings while cows continued to be the main grown cattle offered.

The full field of buyers were in attendance and operating with a mixed price trend evident. Vealer steers and vealer heifers were up to 10¢ dearer while rain during the week assisted restocker demand with some of their purchased up to 20¢/kg dearer. Yearling steers and heifers were firm to 3¢ dearer however a number of categories suffered slight reductions. The small run of grown steers were 1¢ to 5¢ cheaper except some lean heavy weights which gained 6¢/kg. Cows were also generally dearer with supply falling across a number of centres.

Mixed prices

The light vealer steers returning to the paddock generally ranged from 204¢ to 215¢ as the medium weights sold closer to 207¢/kg. Medium weights to slaughter averaged 199¢ as the heavy weights reached 214.6c with most closer to 204¢/kg. Light vealer heifers to the trade sold around 195¢ as the plainer lines sold closer to 186¢/kg. The large run of medium weights ranged from 191¢ to 193¢ with some up to 10¢/kg dearer. Light yearlings to feeder and restockers mostly sold around 200¢ to the around 4¢ dearer while medium weights were generally firm around 190¢/kg. Medium weight C3s to slaughter gained 3¢, to 195¢, after selling to 210¢/kg. The heavy weights sold closer to 185¢/kg. The light and medium weight yearling heifers to feeders sold from 178¢ to 180¢/kg. Medium weight C3 yearling heifers to the trade averaged 180¢ as the heavy weights sold closer to 178¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers eased slightly to 177¢ with sales to 190.6¢ as the bullocks generally sold around 178¢/kg. Medium weight D3 cows gained 4¢ to 134¢ as the heavy D3 and D4s ranged from 142¢ to 149¢ with sales to 164.2¢/kg.

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Smaller yardings

Cattle numbers retreated again at the SA LE, Naracoorte's and Mt. Gambier. Millicent agents could only muster 125 head for its fortnightly sale. The smaller numbers are probably due to a processor now being closed for annual maintenance until Monday August 2nd before resuming again.

The lower prices being paid last week as rumours of large amounts of boxed beef flooding the markets again, as happened at this time last year maybe another reason.

Also the sight of B-doubles coming down the Riddoch Highway over the past week with pastoral bred cattle on board probably heading interstate for processing adding to some concern for southern cattle producers over the next couple of months, as the Indonesian limit of 350kg lwt starts to affect northern producers who have had the luxury of that lucrative market for some years.

Overall quality was reasonably good for this time of the year on mainly young cattle and limited numbers of export cattle that sold to solid competition from the usual buyers, albeit with one Victorian operator being absent at the SA LE. There was strong feeder activity for suitable vealers and yearlings that tended to lift prices and outdo the trade where quality suited. While the SA LE sold to a mainly dearer trend,

Naracoorte producers would have been disappointed as prices fell further, while Mt. Gambier's sale recovered lost ground, with vealers steers and heifers selling over 210¢ and grown steers touching the 200¢/kg mark.

Erratic Trends

There were erratic trends with limited numbers of vealer steers to the trade and local butchers selling from 180¢ to 219¢ at generally dearer levels. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 steers from 170¢ to 199¢ at rates 4¢ to 5¢/kg cheaper. Vealer heifers in small lines to the trade sold mainly between 164¢ to 218¢ or 10¢ to 13¢/kg dearer. Feeder orders sourced D2 and C2 heifers from 160¢ to 185¢ at rates 3¢ to 9¢/kg cheaper. Yearling C3 steers sold from 165¢ to 189¢ to the trade and feeder orders at basically unchanged rates. Feeder purchases of C2 steers in large numbers sold between 165¢ and 195¢, or unchanged to 4¢/kg cheaper. Yearling C3 and C4 heifers sold from 162¢ to 190¢ or 1¢ to 2¢ cheaper for the heavyweights, and unchanged for the medium weights.

Small numbers of C3 and C4 grown steers sold from 174¢ to 200¢ and generally 5¢ to11¢/kg dearer and averaging 336¢/kg cwt. Cow prices tended to recoup some lost ground as most D3 to C6 medium and heavyweights sold from 133¢ to 153¢, with an isolated sale at 166¢/kg. This left most carcase weights in a 260¢ to 310¢/kg price range.

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Rainfall restores confidence

Rainfall recordings were plentiful in the southern corner of the states bringing much needed moisture and subsequently ending a very dry start to the winter season. Several cold fronts crossed the coast causing widespread rainfall to all the agricultural regions. There was also un-seasonal rainfall recorded in the far north of the state, but despite this there are still areas of severe drought in the regions in and around the Murchison and Gascoyne.

Producers in the agricultural regions continue to comment on very limited feed supplies as the recent dry and cold conditions have negatively impacted on both pasture and crop growth. Subsequently many still continue to supplementary feed their cattle with many still unable to lock paddocks up for either hay production or to spell them. Forecasts for the near future although reasonable don't predict any further large frontal activity with only showers forecast for the next seven days. The cold conditions in the south of the state have also impacted on cattle growth and their ability to finish in a great many areas.

Physical market numbers were slightly lower as Muchea remained the largest of the weekly sales. This was again due to solid supplies of northern pastoral cattle and these continue to exhibit the very harsh conditions in much of the pastoral regions remaining in plain to poor condition. There was again a shortage of prime local cattle in both trade and heavy weight steers and heifers. Cow supplies remained fair, while young store grades continued to account for the bulk of locally supply cattle.

Cow market rebounds

New season vealer supplies remained limited with the majority again falling into lightweight calf categories. Trade demand remained firm with little or no change again recorded in restocker activity with similar market conditions exhibited. There were fewer supplies of certified grain finished trade weight yearlings and both quality and weight were lower and subsequently the market saw a downward trend recorded with most purchased by the feeder sector for finishing. Grass finished trade weight yearling supplies were all but non-existent with quality also limited and generally plain. Once again the majority steer and heifer yearlings were purchased by an active feeder sector with little or no change recorded in demand or rates. The healthy numbers of local store grades continue to enjoy strong demand from the feeder and restocker sectors with reasonable improvement seen in market conditions. Store pastoral grades were again met by a very selective demand from the restocker sector with lightweight plain heifers seeing continued heavy discounting.

Despite starting the week at lower values a strong resurgence in demand for heavy weight cows in the Great Southern saw values rebound strongly as 3 and 4 scores peaked at 145c/kg.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Store numbers declined

The overall supply across the state at physical markets reported by MLA's NLRS fell just under 10%. There was a wide variation in supply from centre to centre with most prime sales recording increased numbers. However the Roma store sale went against this trend where numbers fell 44% following the large yarding the previous week. Cattle were drawn from a wide area with consignments at Roma from Western Queensland, Mount Isa and Cunnamulla, while Longreach penned cattle from Western areas and the Northern Territory.

Young cattle continued to dominate the selling pens and the overall standard remains mixed, nevertheless the quality of the vealer's and yearlings at Warwick was generally good. Buyer representation varied with a noticeable decline in the number of restocker buyers at Roma. Light rain in some areas renewed restocker activity in the south east corner of the state. Values for young cattle generally improved with large numbers of both slaughter and restocker grades of calves averaging 3¢/kg dearer. Vealer steers to restocker's also enjoyed a dearer market with a lift in quality in places improving average prices over 10¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade at markets in the south of the state experienced a dearer trend, however across all markets remained firm. Yearling steers to feed generally sold to a dearer trend with average prices affected by quality. Yearling heifers generally followed a similar trend and improved 7¢/kg.

Heavy steers and bullocks continued to experience small improvements in value. Prices achieved for cows across all markets generally maintained the improved rates of the previous week.

Yearling heifers dearer

Calves to the trade averaged 173¢ while those returning to the paddock mostly sold around 193¢ with some to 226.2¢/kg. A fair sample of vealer steers returned to the paddock at 206¢ with a few to 219.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade averaged 171¢ with some heavy grades to 200.2¢/kg. A large sample of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at 198.2¢ with sales to 210.2¢/kg. Light and medium weight lines to feed sold into the 190¢/kg range while heavyweights mostly sold close to 178¢/kg. Yearling heifers to feed and restocker's generally made into the 170¢/kg range with D muscle lines mostly around 140¢/kg. Medium weight slaughter descriptions improved in value by 7¢ to average 173¢ with the occasional B muscle line reaching 207.2¢/kg.

Heavy steers and bullocks mostly sold in the mid 170¢/kg range with a few pens reaching 190.2¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 114¢, while 3 scores were in the largest numbers and averaged 127¢/kg. A fair supply of good heavy cows averaged 145¢ with the occasional pen reaching 157.2¢/kg. Heavy bulls made to 169.2¢ with a fair supply around 149¢/kg.

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