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Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

10 August 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

New South Wales

Supply holds

Numbers held relatively firm with only a slight decrease in the states total yardings of 2%. Wagga increased marginally with more trade cattle supplied. Inverell and Scone also went forward 5% and 37% respectively. Tamworth was back 22% with few well finished heavy weight steers yarded. Gunnedah and Armidale also had declining supply back 3% and 27% respectively. Dubbo slipped 5% with scarce supplies of vealers available however yearling supplies were strong. Throughput was lower at Casino mainly influenced by a small yarding of cows. Yearlings made the majority of the yarding at Forbes however despite this, supply was back 11%. CTLX had a good supply of grown steers despite throughput slipping 12%. Singletons throughput held firm with solid numbers of well finished yearlings suitable for the trade.

Quality remained mixed with plainer lines feeling the effects of the cooler wintery conditions. There were still solid numbers of well-conditioned cattle available particularly at Scone with abundant supplies of well-bred young cattle. The majority of trade and export buyers were in attendance and competition was reasonable across the majority of markets. Feeders were also in attendance and active across a wide range of yearling cattle. Restocker buyers were active taking the opportunity to secure cattle unfinished lines of yearling and vealers.

Price trends were mixed across the various categories however the majority of young cattle sold at higher levels. The majority of grown heifers were lower as were the grown steers. Cow prices lost ground and bulls were also cheaper.

Mixed price trends

Calves to restock were cheaper with average prices around 217¢/kg to top at 239¢/kg. Light vealer steers to restock were firm on 228¢ while the medium weights to restock made 226¢/kg. Medium weight vealer steers to the trade settled on 208¢ with the heavy weights averaging 221¢/kg. The medium weight vealer heifers to the trade reached 207¢ to be 1¢/kg dearer. Restockers secured medium weight vealer heifers for 202¢ paying on average 2¢/kg more week-on-week. Light yearling steers to restock were 9¢ dearer on 225¢ while the medium weights to feed made 210¢/kg. Yearling heifers mostly sold to feeder orders with most C2 medium weights making 194¢ and C3’s at 206¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling heifers to the trade made 194¢/kg to be firm.

Medium weight grown steers to feed made 188¢ to be 5¢/kg cheaper. Heavy C3 grown steers to process averaged 193¢ to top at 206¢/kg. The C3 bullocks were 12¢ dearer at 188¢/kg. Light D1 cows ranged between 95¢ and 116¢ while the medium weight D2’s were on 127¢/kg. Medium D3’s settled on 137¢ with the heavy weights 2¢ lower on 144¢/kg. Heavy weight B2 bulls averaged 166¢ while the C2’s made 158¢/kg.

Queensland

Numbers steady

The supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS remained close to the previous week’s level. Numbers in the south of the state experienced a small decline however a much larger yarding came forward to Longreach selling centre. Overall quality in the young cattle sections remains mixed.

Heavy steers, bullocks and cows were scarce at markets early in the week, while at the mid and late week sales some good samples of heavy steers and bullocks were penned along with some good consignments of heavy 4 score cows.

Young lightweight cattle met strong support from restockers and at Dalby lifted prices by 3¢ to 7¢/kg. Supplementary fed yearling steers and heifers in the south of the state met very good competition from butchers and wholesalers as demand exceeded supply. Medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 2¢ to 3¢/kg. Heavy feeders across all markets generally received firm demand, however in places competition was subdued.

Despite the absence one major export processor at Warwick prices for heavy steers and bullocks improved 2¢ to 3¢/kg as buyers were able to absorb the short supply. Export buyer attendance was also erratic at mid week markets with not all operating to full capacity. Nevertheless prices generally remained within 2¢ to 3¢/kg of the previous week’s level.

Cow prices tended to fluctuate from centre to centre with plain cows remaining closed a firm while medium weight 3 scores averaged around 5¢/kg less. A fairly large selection of good heavy cows averaged 3¢/kg cheaper while some good quality lines still commanded a fairly high rate.

Restocker calves dearer

A large number of calves returned to the paddock 5¢ dearer at 224¢ with sales to 243.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade in southern markets continued to make over 200¢ with local butchers paying up to 227.2¢/kg. A large selection of lightweight yearling steers sold to restockers at 217¢ with sales to 242.2¢/kg. Medium weight feeders generally sold from 204¢ to 210¢ with some well bred lines to 235.2¢/kg. Heavy feeders averaged close to 193¢ while slaughter descriptions made to 214.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers returning to the paddock made up to 220.2¢to average 198¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed average 195¢and sold to 210¢, and D muscle lines to slaughter averaged 151¢/kg. A handful of medium weight yearling heifers to the trade made to 224.2¢ to average 183¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter made to the occasional 188.2¢ to average 178¢/kg. A fair selection of bullocks made to a top of 185¢ on a number of occasions to average close to 178¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 122¢, while 3 scores mostly sold at 128¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to a top of 158.2¢ with a fairly large sample at 144¢/kg.

South Australia

Numbers retreat

There was a slightly larger yarding at the SA LE in mixed quality runs. Naracoorte’s and Mt. Gambier’s numbers retreated to also offer mixed quality yardings.

While overall quality was variable at the SA LE there were excellent some quality supplementary fed yearlings that attracted the strongest demand from the usual trade and export buyers. There was a single steer that topped at 244¢/kg. While the good quality lines were generally dearer, most others lost some of the previous week’s gains. Well bred light C2 yearling steers attracted feeder and restocker activity at dearer levels, while being cheaper on the few medium weights. Limited numbers of grown steers, grown heifers and manufacturing steers were penned, while the small yarding of cows attracted fluctuating trends.

Naracoorte’s mixed quality yarding failed to arouse that much interest before runs of supplementary fed yearling steers and a couple of B muscled vealer steers lit up the sale. The supplementary feds sold up to 238¢ for 400kg, as two lightweight vealers made 250¢ and 259¢/kg. However, where quality slipped and there was a lack of feeder or restocker activity, those prices were generally cheaper to processors. The beef cows tended to lose some ground even though most sold from 145¢ to 160¢/kg.

Mt. Gambier’s smaller yarding tended to attract a dearer trend where quality suited, with runs of mainly heavy steers and bullocks selling to strong demand particularly where dentition was known. The yearling steer and heifer sales tended to retreat on last week’s improved prices. The cow yarding also tended to sell at dearer levels.

Variable prices

There were varying price trends on the smaller mixed quality numbers available.

Lightweight vealer steers in small numbers to the trade sold from 200¢ to 259¢/kg at dearer levels. Feeders and restockers sourced most steers between 200¢ and 212¢ with C2’s 5¢ to 8¢/kg dearer. Vealer heifers to mainly trade demand sold from 185¢ to 239¢/kg. Yearling steer C3 and B2 sales of medium and heavyweights were from 170¢ to 239¢, with C3 heavyweights 6¢/kg. Feeder purchases of C2 light and medium weight steers were around 6¢ cheaper selling from 156¢ to 208¢/kg. Yearling heifer C3 sales were from 170¢ to 208¢ with supplementary feds at 228¢ to be 1¢ to 12¢/kg cheaper.

Grown steers were keenly sourced with dentition the main criteria as most sold from 172¢ to 210¢, with the milk and two teeth 4¢ to 6¢ dearer and the four teeth heavyweights 11c/kg cheaper as most sold in a 325¢ to 365¢/kg cwt price range. The 3 to 5 score beef cows sold at basically unchanged prices from 130¢ to 165¢, or 275¢ to 320¢/kg cwt.

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