Weekly Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
calendar icon 18 November 2011
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

New South Wales

Cattle numbers march in

Cattle throughout at physical markets reported by MLA’s NLRS were significantly higher, as numbers climbed 25 per cent. Most selling centres recorded an increase in numbers, however some areas had fewer cattle after some scattered weekend rain.

Some mixed weather conditions were seen during the week, with warmer temperatures prevailing before a cold front cooled temperatures mid-week. This hot weather prompted an influx of cattle out of the northern and western regions, mainly as producers quit cattle prior to summer and the forthcoming grain harvest.

A fair proportion of the increased numbers came in the form of yearlings and heavy grown steers, many of which have benefited from some winter oat crops that have held on late into the spring. With pastures beginning to hay off and prices historically strong, it is with little wonder that producers are opting to turn off cattle.

The weight and condition of the prime yearlings and grown steers was improved, while the cow yarding was of excellent quality. This was particularly evident at Armidale, with a large number of high yielding C muscle drafts – with prices above 170¢/kg lwt.

Restockers once again played a key role in supporting the young cattle market as producers far and wide look to the prime market to source replacement stock. Light vealer and yearlings were the most in demand, while an increased proportion of light weight cows returned to the paddock.

Feedlot demand has not waned as buyers were strongly competing with restockers. This was reflected in paddock feeder rates increasing yet again, with a particular shortage in light, domestic feeder cattle.

Grown cattle dearer

Medium weight vealer steers returning to the paddock averaged 246¢ as some well-muscled lines topped at 279.6¢kg. Most medium weight vealer heifers were purchased by the trade around 233¢ which was 8¢ cheaper as the restocker lines sold to a dearer trend to average 224¢/kg. Large numbers of light yearling steers to restockers eased 5¢ to 234¢ as the medium weight lines made closer to 226¢/kg.

Medium and heavy weights to the trade were 3¢ to 6¢ dearer in ranging from 203¢ to 216¢/kg. Feeders were active in securing large numbers medium and heavy yearling steers from 208¢ to 218¢/kg. Light yearling heifers to restockers averaged 203¢ as feeders paid closer to 202¢ and 200¢/kg for the medium weights. Medium weights to the trade averaged 205¢ with the heavy weights closer to 188¢/kg.

Feeders placed a solid floor in the grown cattle paying around 202¢/kg for medium weights. Heavy weights to slaughter were 3¢ to 5¢ dearer with most selling in the mid to late 190¢/kg range. Most bullocks made from 181¢ to 195¢kg. Medium weight D3 and D4 cows were slightly dearer ranging from 150¢ to 156¢ with sales to 168.2¢kg. Greater numbers of high heavy yielding cows were offered selling to 177.2¢, as heavy D4s gained 2¢ to average 159¢/kg.

Oueensland

Larger numbers

Substantially larger numbers came forward as buoyant market prices, plus hot and dry weather conditions slowly begin to prevail across most of the supply areas. The number of stock at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS climbed 27 per cent. Dalby recorded the highest yarding for the year as oats crops across the Downs are rapidly cutting out. Despite the high daytime temperatures starting to prevail in the far Western districts large consignments are still moving through to the saleyards with the movement of stock in early mornings or in the coolness of the night.

Buyer attendance in the young cattle sections was good, however the number of export buyers present was erratic, and similar to the previous week some were absent from the buying panel. Values for young lightweight cattle commenced the week on a strong trend nevertheless as the week progressed and larger numbers became available buyers were selective and average prices eased on some categories.

Despite the larger numbers of feeder descriptions buyers maintained the strong buying pressure experienced in recent weeks, with only small adjustments in places due to quality. Heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter experienced mixed values commencing the week on a dearer trend, however by mid and late week markets with not all export processors operating values tended to ease by 3¢ to 4¢/kg.

Regardless of the extra 1,000 cows penned values for all categories remained very solid on the increased prices experienced the previous week as all major exporters battled to maintain market share. Restockers remained very active on plain condition cows as PTIC lines attracted a premium.

Bullocks cheaper

Vealer steers to the trade across all markets averaged 205¢ and made to 216¢/kg. A fair selection of vealer heifers sold to local and southern processors at 215¢ with some to 229.2¢/kg. A large number of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock 3¢ cheaper at 237¢ the occasional well bred pen to 260.2¢/kg.

A good supply of medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged from 215¢ to 222¢ and sold to 249.2¢/kg. A very large line up of heavy weight yearling steers to feed mostly sold around 205¢ with some to 222.2¢, while slaughter descriptions averaged 197¢ and made to 223.2¢/kg.

Restockers purchased most of the lightweight yearling heifers at close to 225¢ with the occasional sale to 245¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 202¢ and local trade descriptions averaged 208¢ and made 232¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter across all markets for the week averaged 197¢ and made to 206.2¢/kg. Bullocks lost ground to average 197¢ with a few pens to 206.2¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 123¢ and 3 scores 142¢/kg. A large number of good heavy cows managed to lift 4¢ to 167¢ with a few sales to 179.6¢/kg.

South Australia

Larger Yarding

The SA LE’s numbers retreated slightly on mainly yearlings that sold to soft trade and processor competition from the usual buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were also active at generally lower prices. Vealers were yarded in limited numbers, with most yearling steers struggling to sell above 200¢/kg, with feeder orders sourcing most of the medium weights while the trade purchased the heavyweights.

Light yearling heifers sold mainly to feeder activity, with the medium and heavyweights to the trade. Only small lines of grown steers, grown heifers and manufacturing steers were available, while most cows finished with processors.

Naracoorte’s and Mt. Gambier’s numbers increased as many producers look at drying paddocks and another few hot days this week. There were generally good quality runs of local and pastoral bred cattle that sold to solid trade, some supermarket and processor competition even though some were sourcing limited numbers. There was strong feeder and restocker activity on mainly Angus vealer and yearlings. While vealer steers sold quite erratically at times, there was strong demand for lightweight C2 steers that are becoming a hard commodity for Victorian wholesalers to source.

Vealer heifers in fresh quality runs were keenly sourced. The yearling steers were generally dearer, with the heifer portion mainly cheaper. Grown and manufacturing steers finished the week at lower levels, while the grown heifers were dearer. Cow prices tended to be erratic, with some dearer and others cheaper, as the operating processors tried to lower their prices below 160¢/kg.

Millicent had a smaller yarding of mainly vealers that sold to an easing trend.

Lower prices

It was a week of generally lower prices and mainly due to the increased numbers. Vealer steers to the trade on mainly B muscled light to heavyweights sold from 215¢ to 248¢ to be unchanged to 2¢/kg cheaper. However, C2 lightweights were 2¢ dearer averaging 223¢/kg. Feeder and restocker orders sourced C2 Angus steers from 195¢ to 225¢/kg at mainly lower levels.

Vealer heifers were generally unchanged to 4¢ dearer, with only some lightweights and heavy C4 sales being cheaper, as most sold from 180¢ to 245¢/kg. Yearling steers in mainly C3 heavyweight runs sold from 165¢ to 214¢ to be 2¢/kg dearer. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 medium weights from 158¢ to 209¢, averaging around 17¢/kg more. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweights sold between 164¢ and 195¢ to be 3¢ to 6¢/kg cheaper on the increased numbers available.

Grown steers sold from 172¢ to 200¢ to be unchanged to 5¢ cheaper with the heavyweights most affected, as most generally returned 305¢ to 350¢/kg cwt. Cow prices were variable as most medium and heavy beef cows sold from 120¢ to 160¢, or 240¢ to 300¢/kg cwt. Bull prices also came off the boil due to limited processor demand.

Victoria

Greater numbers

Supply at MLA’s NLRS reported markets increased around 20 per cent, and a large portion of this was due the greater numbers of vealers, grown steers and bullocks penned.

Young cattle quality was improved and this along with solid demand from all sectors assisted their prices. In the grown cattle section there were lines carrying too much condition and weight which impacted prices particularly late in the week.

The abundance of feed in paddocks has kept restockers active over a much broader range of cattle. This aided prices rises of up to 10¢/kg in places, most noticeably for young cattle. Trade and supermarket operators were selective on muscle and finish, as the potentially higher yielding young cattle met good demand.

The D muscle and over conditioned lines though were cheaper at times. The benchmark EYCI early in the week was dearer, however after Thursday s markets eased just 1¢ lower week on week to 403.5¢/kg cwt. This is still above month ago levels as well as being around eight per cent higher than the corresponding time last year.

Early in the week grown cattle prices were firm to easier, and by the end of the week were 2¢ to 4¢/kg cheaper. There was large increase in the number of bullocks penned at Leongatha with many heavy weights included. This impacted prices as competition was restricted because of the high weight. Grown heifers sold to mixed demand, dependant generally on weight and condition. Cows though were firm to dearer for both beef and dairy lines.

Mixed prices

As the number and quality of vealers improved, prices lifted 2¢ to 4¢, with sales to 261¢/kg. Most vealers though made between 190¢ and 245¢/kg. The majority of C muscle yearling steers were 2¢ to 5¢ dearer, and when restockers were active gains of up to 12¢/kg were evident. Trade purchases were between 185¢ and 225¢, as restockers paid to 278¢/kg for light steers. The better end of the yearling heifers sold from 175¢ to 215¢, as the diverse weight and quality resulted in many making from 155¢ to 185¢/kg.

Around 20 per cent of the cattle offered were grown steers, and of these around 60 per cent were bullock weights. Heavy C4 steers averaged 194¢ after making to 201.6¢/kg. Bullocks and heavy bullocks mostly sold around 191¢/kg. Manufacturing beef steer made mostly 175¢ to 181¢c/kg with the dairy lines closer to 162¢/kg. Medium weight D3 beef cows averaged 151¢ as most of the good quality heavy beef cows sold from 152¢ to 156¢/kg. Heavy, over conditioned cows were heavily reduced at times selling from 124¢ to 138¢/kg. The heavy dairy cows mostly made from 139¢ to 147¢/kg. The carcass weight price across all cows was estimated to be 303¢/kg.

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