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 29 October 2010
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

VIC weekly cattle summary

Numbers creep up

Overall supply was slightly higher at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS, but this was on the back of a quiet week previously. However, the end of October usually signals increased supplies, which creates weaker demand and therefore lower prices. While there was a slight lift in numbers, some markets showed significant falls, particularly Leongatha where grown steers and cow numbers were depleted. The general lack of supply, coupled with similar scenarios interstate led to very solid demand. The EYCI figure was down 4.50c week on week at 361.25c/kg cwt, which was reflective of the Eastern States, however Victorian prices did not replicate this trend for young cattle. Prices were a little lower at some sales, but they were firm to dearer at others. Most markets reported by the NLRS have sighted quality as being good to very good. It is only Warrnambool and Camperdown, where paddocks are still very wet, that quality was reasonably mixed. A benefit to processors is the dressing percentages which are creeping up with the very strong spring growth. Cattle are weighing quite heavy as well, which is catching some buyers by surprise.

Grown cattle sold very well, which may indicate the A$ value trends are less considered by processors than supply at present. Prime bullocks averaged unchanged, at 173.5c, but cows averaged 2c to 5c/kg dearer. One of the larger price increases for cows was a lift in price for well conditioned 4 and 5 score cows, which were heavily reduced the previous week. The carcass weight price average was 291c, to be 6c/kg higher.

Vealer demand strong

Competition for vealers was strong at all sales, as there are few of these up for sale at the moment. Lighter weight vealers were mostly between 190c to 240c/kg. Very good quality B muscle vealers weighing as high as 460kg lwt made between 194c and 230c with most others from 165c to 200c/kg. The very good season is producing a lot of good through to top quality steers. Despite their weight, prices ranged between 175c to 198c for most sales with supplementary feds to 225c/kg. Prices varied a lot between saleyards with some over conditioned steers making as low as 150c/kg. Yearling heifers were purchased by a large range of buyers, and a large range occurred in prices. Most of the good quality C muscle grades were from 175c to 192c with supplementary fed to 208c/kg. Most D muscle heifers made from 143c to 181c/kg.

Prime bullock numbers were down and prices averaged unchanged. The C3 and C4 bullocks made from 162c to 177c with grown steers to 192c/kg. Some cows are in excellent condition, which saw the best quality beef cows make to 165c, and Friesian cows to 160c/kg. Heavier, better quality cows made between 142c and 158c with lighter weight and lean cows from 88c to 135c/kg.

WA weekly cattle summary

Saleyard numbers remain high

There has been little or no change to the tough seasonal conditions in much of WA with only limited rainfall once again seen throughout the past week with most of the falls continuing to be restricted to coastal areas. The majority of hay production has now taken place in the southern Ag districts with most producers continuing to report poor yields with most indicating that their levels were generally only half of what would be seen in an average year. Harvest has begun in the northern and eastern agricultural regions and yields have been disappointing but not unexpected. The lower crop forecasts have continued to see an increase in price and many feeders are still unsure of what money levels they will be looking at this year. Water levels in many areas remain the largest threat to carrying capacity and this has continued to stimulate a strong turnoff of cows and surplus stock, while many producers continue to sell off weaners at earlier than normal times and well below average weights.

Saleyard numbers remained very solid this week and additionally to the normal three weekly sales there was once regional weaner sale. Demand for young cattle remains very strong from the eastern states, but at the Great Southern sale later in the week, there was a distinct increase in local feeder and restocker demand that negated many orders from across the border. The volumes of heavy and trade weight yearlings remained negligible in saleyards as cow and vealer numbers dominated all the yardings.

Vealer demand increases

The unseasonal high volumes of new season vealers remained predominately of medium and lightweight with only limited supplies of heavy weight calves seen. Trade demand on heavy weight vealers remained firm and again had to contend with a reasonable feeder inquiry. Medium and lightweight heifers and steer calves both recorded a considerably stronger demand and competition this week. Demand was higher from both local and eastern states restockers and feeders throughout the classes with some rates rising by as much as 15c/kg lwt compared to the previous week. The current strong turnoff has prompted agents to bring forward the starting date of the Great Southern two day sales, indicating that they may start as early as two weeks from now. As has been the case this spring the quality of trade yearlings remained mixed. Demand for both steers and heifers from the processing sector showed little or no change with rates firm and again there was a reasonable feeder interest also recorded.

Heavy weight steer, bullock and heifer volumes all remained limited. The supply of cows remains very high. Demand from local and eastern states processors remains firm with an increase seen in restocker activity.

SA weekly cattle summary

Smaller numbers

The SA LE’s numbers rose for mixed quality runs containing mainly yearlings that sold to the usual trade and processor buyers in an erratically priced sale. This was due to the small number of prime quality young cattle selling at dearer levels, with the plainer quality selling at much lower rates particularly the yearling heifers. Vealers were also in short supply with most steers and heifers finishing with feeder orders, while a single sold to the trade. There were also small lines of pastoral bred yearling steers and heifers penned that sold at 161¢ for the steers, and 130¢ to 161¢/kg for the heifers.

Naracoorte’s yarding of 1,316 young cattle and grown steers was slightly lower which sold to solid SA and Victorian trade and processor competition on good quality runs of grass and supplementary steers and heifers. A NSW order was also active on prime grown steers, with a supermarket sourcing prime quality yearling steers and heifers. Vealer steers and heifers attracted strong wholesale competition, with the yearling steers and heifers after a slow start finishing the sale at dearer prices, with some buyers unfazed by the four score heifers that have been shunned at recent markets. Grown steer sales were a little erratic with known dentition the main criteria.

An improved quality yarding greeted the usual buying contingent at Mt. Gambier, and generally sold at dearer levels with some magnificent Simmental cows selling at 161¢/kg. Millicent numbers rose by 87 head to 680 and featured some excellent vealers.

Prices generally dearer

It was a generally dearer sale week, particularly in the South East that was aided by the improved quality offered. Vealer steers to the trade on mainly B muscled runs sold from 190¢ to 228¢ to be unchanged to 4¢/kg dearer. Feeder ad restockers sourced C2 steers from 182¢ to 210¢ at prices unchanged to 7¢/kg cheaper. Vealer heifers were keenly sourced as most sold between 180¢ and 222¢ at prices generally 5¢ to 11¢/kg dearer. Prime yearling steers sold mainly from 175¢ to 200¢ at slightly lower levels to the trade. Feeders sourced C2 and C3 steers from 159¢ to 198¢/kg. Yearling heifers were keenly sourced in the South East, with C3 and C4 sales 165¢ to 185¢ or unchnaged to 4¢/kg dearer, although some SALE sales were much cheaper.

Grown steers sold to solid processor competition, with C3 and C4 sales 162¢ to 188¢ to be mainly unchanged to 4¢ dearer, and generally 300¢ to 330¢/kg cwt. Cow prices were given a boost as most D3 to C6 beef cows sold from 129¢ to 161¢ with the top price for some magnificent quality heavy Simmentals, to be 1¢ to 8¢ dearer and most 250¢ to 305¢/kg cwt.

NSW weekly cattle summary

State yarding down

Numbers at MLA’s NLRS reported physical markets fell 11% with rainfall, particularly in the north of the state having the largest impact on throughput. Tamworth, Gunnedah, Scone, Casino and Singleton were most affected by the wet conditions while Wagga experienced an increase on numbers following a small yarding last week on account of flooding in the area.

Quality and condition was reported to be mixed but many markets experienced an improvement with plenty of well finished yearlings and grown steers entering the markets. Very few plain quality unfinished cattle were offered at Gunnedah while in contrast good slaughter ready lots were limited at Singleton, this meant strong competition between trade buyers. It was a similar situation at Wagga with most of the yearlings and vealers more suited to restockers and feeders.

Yearling steers made up the largest category offered with 23% of the total yarding, the heifer portion made up 22% while numbers vealers remain limited to around 7%. Of the vealers penned 40% were penned at Casino on Wednesday and sold to a slightly easier market. Feeder operators were keen to secure yearling steers and accounted for 60% of purchases and also bought 33% of the heifer yearlings. The grown steer offering made up 11% of the states throughput and cows accounted for 16%. Restockers were keen to buy any cows suited to their requirements, which was around 8% of the cow yarding.

Over the hooks rates were again cheaper as processors continue to report tough export conditions. They are also seeing increased numbers of cattle of well finished cattle which is easing supply pressure.

Mixed price trends

Heavyweight calves to restockers averaged 243¢ while processors paid 8¢ more than last week around 246¢/kg. Lightweight vealer steers to restockers were around 9¢ cheaper averaging 231¢ while the medium weight C2’s were around 11¢ dearer at 232¢/kg. Lightweight heifer vealers to the trade were 4¢ cheaper at 226¢ while medium weights were 4¢ dearer at 218¢/kg. Yearlings sold to mixed trends Lightweights to restockers eased 3¢ to 213¢ while medium weights to feed were 2¢ dearer around 198¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed made around 188¢ and those to slaughter were steady at 185¢/kg. Lightweight heifers to process were firm on 196¢ and medium weights were down 2¢ to 185¢, the heavyweights were steady at 177¢/kg. Medium yearling heifers to feeders sold 2¢ either side of firm around 183¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed were steady at 178¢ with the heavyweights to slaughter also steady around 176¢/kg. Bullocks gained 2¢ to 3¢ to average 176¢/kg. Most cow categories were firm to slightly dearer. Medium D3’s averaged 140¢ with the heavyweight D3’s averaging 144¢ and D4 lots at 148¢ after reaching 156¢/kg. Heavyweight bulls followed the dearer trend averaging 150¢ and reaching a top price of 174.6¢/kg.

QLD weekly cattle summary

Numbers continued to climb

With another week of generally fine weather the supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS continued to climb to a higher level. Some very isolated storms over the supply area did not deter numbers at the Toowoomba markets, and a fine weekend in the Roma area allowed numbers to increase dramatically. However the supply of stock at Warwick went against this trend to almost half of the previous week's level. Overall quality was generally good with large representation of most categories, and some large consignments of heavy steers and bullocks were included in the line-up at Dalby. The increased numbers took prices off the boil, however quality cattle continued to attract strong restocker competition. While all the usual local and interstate buyers were present and operating they did appear more reserved this week which resulted prices falling by 10¢/kg in places. Young cattle experienced a mixed trend with losses of 3¢ to 8¢/kg across the medium and heavy weight yearling steers and heifers to feed as well slaughter. However lightweight lines of yearling steers still met strong demand from restockers and feeders, and as the week progressed lightweight yearling heifers to slaughter regained some of the previous week's losses.

Heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter commence the week on a firm trend, however by mid week at Dalby the larger numbers and a lack of support from some export processors average prices fell by 5¢ to 6¢/kg. Cows went against this trend and apart from at some centres in the early part of the week receiving mixed values overall across all selling centres generally sold to a very solid market.

Values cheaper in places

Calves returning to the paddock averaged 215¢ and made to 246.2¢/kg. The better end of the vealer steers averaged 201¢ and made to 232.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers averaged 190¢, and a small selection of heavy weights sold to local butchers at 234.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed averaged close to 215¢ and a very large number returned to the paddock at a similar price with some well bred grades reaching 240.2¢/kg. Medium weight lines to feeders averaged 5¢ cheaper at 197¢ however top end quality lines still commanded a high rate reaching 219.2¢, while heavy weight feeders averaged 4¢ less at close to 186¢ with some to 198.2¢/kg. A large selection of lightweight yearling heifers returned to the paddock at 188¢ and sold to 214.2¢, and across all markets for the week slaughter grades averaged 3¢ cheaper at 193¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 182¢ and slaughter grades mostly sold around 186¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter averaged 180¢ and made to 189.6¢ while a good supply of heavy bullocks averaged 2¢ less at 179¢ the occasional sale to 190.2¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows experienced no change in value to average 124¢ and 3 scores 138¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to 165.2¢ with most around 151¢/kg.

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