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Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

07 September 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

Throughput lifts

Total throughput has increased 30% as MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards all recorded. Inverell’s yarding was nearly double that of last week, as more yearlings and grown cattle were offered. Tamworth also reported a 70% increase with lightweight yearlings in good supply. Dubbo yarded 35% more cattle with a larger offering of cows, while Gunnedah lifted 33% with grown cattle well supplied. Wagga was up 49% predominately due to the past dry couple of weeks.

Quality remains plain

The majority of saleyards are still reporting mixed quality across most categories with the plainer cattle were more prominent this week. Restocker buyers were competing well for the plainer lines, while feeder buyers took the bulk of the supplementary fed cattle. Numbers at Dubbo were predominately sourced from western regions with quality mixed throughout. Gunnedah had a large influx of yearlings, with most being plain and unfinished. Despite Wagga yarding more cattle the quality wasn’t at the standard of last week. The usual buyers were present at most markets however some process buyers were not operating at Wagga.

Prices ease

Medium weight C2 vealer steers eased by 2¢ to make 213¢ while the vealer heifer portion made from 160¢ to 218¢ averaging 195¢/kg. Light yearling steers to restockers lost 8¢ on 204¢ while the majority of the medium weight yearling heifers sold from 165¢ to 234¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 grown steers were back 5¢ on 194¢ while the bulk of the heifers to slaughter made a top of 190¢ to finish on 175¢/kg. Medium D2 cows were relatively firm on 131¢ while heavy weight D4’s settled on 150¢/kg.

Victoria

Numbers lower

Numbers increased at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS with 14% more cattle yarded week-on-week. The largest increase to cattle supply came from Leongatha with throughput almost doubling. All the other selling centres yarded more cattle apart from Warrnambool where supply dropped 26%.

Yearlings dominated the young cattle supply with the majority falling into the heavy weight category. Grown steers were also in good supply with most heavy weights or bullocks. Well-conditioned D4’s dominated the cow yarding however all weight categories were well represented. C2 and C3 heavy bulls were in good numbers across all selling centres.

Quality remains plain

Quality remained plain across the majority of centres with many showing the effects of the winter months. There were only a few quality lines of young cattle offered with most being crop or supplementary fed.

All the regular buyers were in attendance and active across the majority of markets however competition was slightly lower. Some export buyers were absent across a selection of markets. Feeder and restocker attendance was also down with lower competition placing downward pressure on prices.

Competition influences prices

The reduction in competition throughout the state had a negative effect on prices. Vealers were mostly lower with heavy weight steers back 2¢ to 204¢/kg. Vealer heifers bucked the trend up 4¢ to settle on 218¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling steers were 3¢ cheaper on 200¢ to sell to a top of 219¢/kg. Heavy weight yearling heifers were also 3¢ lower on 189¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers and bullocks were both 5¢ lower on 193¢/kg. Light weight grown heifers were back 8¢ on 159¢/kg. Medium weight D3 beef cows were firm on 144¢ with the dairy cows 5¢ higher on 108¢/kg. Heavy D4 beef cows made 151¢ to be unchanged with the heavy D2 dairy varieties making 135¢/kg. Heavy weight C2 bulls made 158¢/kg.

West Australia

Moisture levels improve in the south

A series of cold fronts crossed the south west of WA this week bringing much needed and reasonable rainfall. Falls were wide spread throughout the Agricultural districts of the state with the traditional cattle breeding areas in the south enjoying solid falls. With increased day length, feed growth has begun to increase and with forecasts predicting further rainfall next week it is hoped that these areas will enjoy reasonable spring feed levels.

Conditions in the north remain moderate with temperatures now beginning to rise with mustering activity still very solid. Cattle numbers in physical markets were again lower this week, due to lower supplies of pastoral cattle at Muchea. Great Southern sale was cancelled due to a lack of numbers.

Quality predominately plain

Quality in physical markets was again predominately plain with solid supplies of plain conditioned and muscled pastoral grades this week. Local cattle supplies remained limited with the volumes of prime trade and heavy weight steers and heifers continuing to be in very tight supply. Cow supplies remained reasonable from the pastoral north with local supplies negligible, while there were increased and solid supplies of medium weight pastoral bulls available.

Local prime trade and heavy weight steers and heifers continued to enjoy solid processor and retailer demand. Demand from restockers on the tight supply of young local store grades remained similar, while mixed quality and lightweight pastoral drafts continued to meet a limited demand.

Demand for prime heavy weight pastoral and local cows from the processing sector remained in line with the previous week with little or no price change realise. Heavy weight bull sales recovered some of the recent losses, while mixed quality lightweight pastoral bulls again met a limited restocker and export feeder demand.

South Australia

Similar Numbers

With feed reserves remaining tight combined with some warm windy weather over the past couple of days, there was an increased yarding at the SA LE, and Mt Gambier. Naracoorte’s numbers though fell slightly. Both the SA LE and Naracoorte featured local and pastoral cattle as many Northern cattle producers look at the Southern saleyards to sell stock.

Quality mixed

SA LE’s and Naracoorte’s mixed quality yarding sold erratically despite all of the regular buyers being present. However, with a couple not operating it was a signal for those operating buyers to lower their prices, with only lightweight vealer steers and heifers being dearer where quality suited. Mt. Gambier’s improved quality tended to sell at dearer levels with vealer steers and heifers selling above 250¢/kg, while the beef and dairy cows tended to lose recent gains.

Young cattle cheaper

The varying quality and not all of the regular buyers operating tended to lead to fluctuating price trends over most categories. Medium and heavy C3 yearling steers to slaughter were 3¢ to 9¢ cheaper with most selling from 197¢ to 205¢ with sales to 230¢/kg. The yearling heifers sold to a similar cheaper trend with the medium and heavy weights to the trade selling around 190¢/kg. Most of the grown steers were heavy weights averaging 199¢ after topping at 208¢/kg. Restockers were active on light and medium weight cows paying from 115¢ to 134¢/kg. Medium weight D3s averaged 140¢ as the pastoral lines sold closer to 148¢/kg. Good heavy cows reached 158¢ as the D3 and D4s mostly sold from 138¢ to 141¢/kg.

Queensland

Saleyard survey data available

Yardings increased 30% compared to last week as most centres reported by MLA’s NLRS offered greater numbers. Just over 70% of the cattle penned were at Dalby, Longreach and the Roma Store sale. When compared to the corresponding time last year supply was up 22%.

The results of the Queensland saleyard survey for 2011/2012 collected by MLA’s NLRS on behalf of the Australian Livestock Markets Association (ALMA) have been collated. The results reinforce Roma as the states main selling centre for cattle with Dalby in second place. Blackall moved from fifth last financial year to third, as Charters Towers held onto fourth spot. Longreach moved up a position from sixth to fifth, while Gracemere climbed from eighth last year to sixth.

Quality has remained mixed, although a number of centres contained runs of crop or supplementary fed cattle that were suitable for slaughter. Even though winter is behind us, a number of areas are in need of rain to assist paddock feed as the weather warms up. This has resulted in restockers being rather cautious in their bidding activity.

Grown steers dearer

Large numbers of light yearling steers to restockers eased 3¢ and averaged 208¢ after selling to 240.2¢/kg. The medium weights to feed and restockers were firm to cheaper while the C3’s to the trade also sold to a cheaper market. Heavy weights to feeder orders managed to lift 4¢ despite being secured in large numbers to sell around 194¢/kg. A fair run of plain light yearling heifers to most orders ranged from 172¢ to 181¢/kg.

The grown steers to export slaughter were dearer by 1¢ to 5¢/kg. Heavy weights and bullocks mostly sold from 170¢ for the 3 scores to around 191¢/kg for the better covered 4 scores. Medium weight D3 cows held firm around 132¢ while the leaner 2 scores eased 3¢ to average 118¢/kg. Most of the heavy cows made from 135¢ to 155¢/kg.

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