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 17 September 2010
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

WA weekly cattle summary

Desperate need for rain

Despite some limited rainfall recordings in the north, conditions still remain very dry in most areas. Things in the southern Agricultural districts have been further denigrated by yet another week of fine and dry weather with many areas also recording several mornings of frost.

The very dry conditions continue to have a negative impact on both pasture and crop growth and with forecasts predicting anther week of fine and dry weather for many areas the season is all but over. Hay production has begun in several areas and again yields are well below normal averages. The dry conditions in the north still mean many pastoralists battle with poor conditioned cattle that are not fit to transport.

Agents continue to report that there is a strong and growing demand coming from the eastern states and some are speculating that if the season cuts out that many of the subsequent lightweight calves will end up crossing the border. Total saleyard numbers remained similar with Muchea again the largest of the reported markets. The numbers of prime heavy weight steers and heifer were again limited with this also the case in trade yearling categories. Vealer volumes remained limited, while cow volumes continued to account for a reasonable percentage of all three yardings.

Processor demand continued to be very selective throughout the classes and definitely quality defined. The demand from feeders was marginally stronger on better quality store classes with restocker activity again selective and area dependant.

Cow market remains firm

The recent trend where there have been limited supplies of lightweight vealers in physical markets continued. Demand for these from both the feeder and restocker sectors remained at similar levels. The very limited supplies of medium and heavy weight vealer also met similar local trade and retailer demand. The quality and weight of grass finished trade weight yearlings remained very mixed. The Great Southern sale recorded improved quality of both steers and heifers and these recorded improved competition. The mixed quality and plainer conditioned drafts were generally discounted to the feeder sector. The quality and weight of yearling store cattle was also very mixed. Demand from both feeders and restockers remained selective, but overall there was a slight increase in competition on better quality medium and lightweight store steers and heifers.

The volumes of heavy weight steers and bullocks remained limited. An increase in quality however resulted in a slight increase in prices. This was also the case in heavy weight grown heifer sales where greater trade competition saw values dearer. The cow market started the week at lower values but this recovered by the end of the week.

SA weekly cattle summary

Improved larger quality yardings

Numbers doubled at Naracoorte’s sale last Friday and sold to the usual South East and Victorian processor competition with most early sales cheaper, before recovering lost ground by the finish.

Numbers increased at the SALE as mixed quality runs containing mainly yearlings that sold to fluctuating competition provided by most of the usual trade and processor buyers. Feeder orders were active on lightweight yearling steers due to the limited number of vealers offered. Cows made up the next largest percentage even though only just over 50 were offered, and sold mainly between 110¢ and 136¢/kg.

Naracoorte’s young cattle numbers rose and quality improved featuring large numbers of prime yearling heifers. While most of the regular SA and Victorian trade and processor buyers were present and operating, there was definite oversupply of heifers that led to rates slipping on the previous weeks dearer priced sale. There was strong restocker demand for lightweight Angus vealer heifers, as spirited bidding from the restocker and a couple of trade buyers lifted both pens to 220¢ and 221¢/kg. Vealer steers sold to solid Victorian wholesale demand, while the heifers tended to be cheaper as most sold below the 200¢/kg mark.

Mt. Gambier also increased and included just over 800 grown steers and bullocks after last week’s improved prices. Most of the usual SA and Victorian buyers were operating at mainly lower rates apart from lightweight vealer heifers, albeit with a NSW order being absent.

Fluctuating trends

Fresh quality calves sold mainly from $360 to $550/head to wholesale and restocker activity. Vealer steers to the trade were from 185¢ to 221¢ at rates 1¢ to 2¢ dearer and 3¢ to 7¢/kg cheaper. Feeder orders sourced C2 steers from 185¢ to 205¢, with the lightweights dearer and the heavyweight’s 10¢kg less. Vealer heifers were keenly sourced with C3 sales 185¢ to 220¢ and B muscled lightweights to 235¢/kg that left some sales dearer and others slightly cheaper. Feeder and restocker orders secured C2 and C3 mainly lightweights between 178¢ and 221c/kg. The C3 yearling steers were generally 2¢ to 6¢ cheaper selling from 170¢ to 202¢, with B muscled sales 195¢ to 215¢/kg at mainly dearer levels. With over 1,400 yearling heifers offered statewide supplies outstripped demand as C3 and C4 sales ranged mainly between 173¢ and 195¢, to be unchanged to 4¢/kg cheaper.

Grown steer C3 and C4 sales were generally from 181¢ to 202.5¢, at rates 2¢ to 4¢ cheaper for the medium weights and 3¢ to 4¢ dearer for the bullocks, as carcase weight prices averaged around 340¢/kg statewide. Cows were unchanged to 6¢ cheaper as carcase weight prices ranged generally between 260¢ and 325¢/kg.

VIC weekly cattle summary

Improved quality

A feature of the markets during the week was the excellent quality offered across all grades. Coming out of six weeks of cold and very wet weather, there have been a few plainer condition cattle sold at physical markets. However, this has started to change as all MLA’s NLRS reported markets contained good quality cattle with the exception being Warrnambool. It would appear that the reasonable to good Autumn and Winter in some areas has led to cattle presenting very well, which is going someway to assist processors while margins remain tight. Couple this with stronger demand from processors to secure supply, and prices were unchanged 6c/kg dearer over a wide range of categories. Given the increase in the $A during the week, this has been a good result for export cattle. Young cattle prices improved, as buyers chased the quality lines available. This assisted the EYCI to climb 1.75¢ to a yearly high of 370.25¢/kg cwt on Thursday.

Northern Victoria markets improved in value following the recent wet weather. At Shepparton there were 710 exports and 515 trade cattle offered. Dairy cows sold at stronger rates, as to did the grown steers and bullocks. The trade cattle had less weight, with fewer supplementary feed yearling steers offered, although there were several pens of well finished medium to heavy yearling heifers. The vealers were sparse and quality was plainer. At Wodonga, continued rainfall, has provided a positive outlook for restockers with increased competition from local areas. A significant increase of numbers was offered to a full panel of buyers who competed strongly on a good quality yarding comprising mostly of yearling steers and heifers. Heavy grown steers and bullocks were in shorter supply sold to steady demand.

Prices improve

There were a number of young cattle making between 180¢ and 215¢/kg. The best quality vealers made as high as 239¢ at Bairnsdale, and between 210¢ and 235¢/kg state-wide. Across the state, the very strong demand saw most yearlings make between 180¢ and 210¢/kg. This included a lot of heavy yearling steers and heifers. Feedlots struggled to find enough supply, but when they did find suitable cattle they paid from 175¢ to 200¢/kg. Restockers paid up to 230¢/kg for some lightweight cattle. Yearling feeder steers averaged 188¢ and the state trade steer indicator sat at 200¢/kg.

Grown steers and bullocks met with strong competition, as processors scrambled to secure supply. Most prime C3 and C4 grown steers and bullocks made from 182¢ to 196¢/kg.

Cows continue to sell very well, despite the high value of the A$. Good quality beef cows made from 148¢ to 175¢, while most others made from 115¢ to 152¢/kg. The carcass weight price average encompassing all cow categories was around 307c/kg. The top quality heavy bulls sold very well making from 160¢ to 186¢/kg. Dairy cows also sold to improved rates at all centres.

QLD weekly cattle summary

A massive lift in supply

There was a massive lift in supply at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS, as supply areas becomes more accessible to transport and more livestock producers are able to move stock after the recent rain. The return of Longreach and Silverdale to the selling program following the cancellations last week due to wet conditions preventing the transfer of stock also helped to boost supply.

Overall quality remains mixed with some fair selections of store and feeder grades penned plus there was a good line-up of slaughter categories in some centres. Despite the increased numbers feeder operators, restockers and processors easily absorbed the extra supply and lifted values further in places. The excellent season being experienced across a large area of the state encouraged restockers to be very active in the market and a good sample of calves returned to the paddock 9¢/kg dearer. A fairly good supply of vealer heifers and lightweight yearling heifers came forward and regardless of the good supply feeder operators, plus local and interstate processors battled to secure a market share and lifted average prices from 4¢ to 16¢/kg. A relatively good supply of yearling steers to feed were penned however feeder operators turned their attention to the heifer portion in an effort to maintain numbers in the feed pens and values improved accordingly.

Heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter across all markets averaged 1¢ to 3¢kg dearer. Cows also experienced a lift in prices with the light condition grades improving the most. Extra processor demand lifted heavy bull values 14¢ and close to 20¢/kg in some centres.

Most classes firm to dearer

A large number of calves returned to the paddock 9¢ dearer at 222¢ with the occasional sale to 259.2¢, while slaughter descriptions mostly sold around 208¢ with some to 226.2¢/kg. A fair sample of vealer steers averaged 206¢ while some returning to the paddock made to 229.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to processors generally sold around 201¢ the occasional B muscle grade reaching 233.6¢/kg. A large selection of lightweight yearling steers sold to restockers at 211¢ with the occasional consignment reaching 238.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed sold in the mid to high 190¢/kg range and heavy weights averaged 188¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to feed and restockers plus processors all averaged over 200¢/kg with a few pens to processors reaching 220.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 7¢ dearer at 192¢, while heavy weights averaged 184¢/kg.

A relatively small supply of heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter averaged 183¢ and sold to 195¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 6¢ better at 127¢ with a few sales to 139.2¢/kg. Good heavy cows occasionally sold in the high 160¢/kg range with pen lots at 158¢ with most 2¢ dearer at around 153¢/kg. Heavy Bulls made to 177.2¢ with a fair number averaging close to 163¢/kg.

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