MLA: 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 January 2013
clock icon 8 minute read

Western Australia

Weather conditions remain unfavourable

There has been little or no relief from the extreme weather conditions seen in southern WA, with much of this year’s summer recording high temperatures and wide spread thunderstorm activity.

The high temperatures and thunderstorms brought further wide spread and at times heavy rainfall over a wide area of the southern Ag districts of WA. These prolonged conditions have had a detrimental effect on feed volumes and quality in both pasture and stubble paddocks.

The cyclone that tracked south of the coast of WA bringing reasonable rainfall to parts of the Pilbara did little with no storm damage reported across inland regions. Despite the recent falls there continues to be a below average “wet” in the far north of the state.

Numbers remain strong in the south

With the weaner sell off at its peak in the south, there were again very large numbers of cattle sold in physical markets with consignments at Muchea lifting sharply.

Buoyant had a larger trade sale, along with another weaner sale mid-week which had very solid numbers. Mt Barker had slightly lower vealer numbers; however supplies remained at the higher end of the scale.

There were larger volumes of trade weight yearlings available this week with heavy steer and heifer numbers remaining tight. Cow volumes also improved at all three markets.

Buyer interest fades

This week’s sales reported lower overall weaner weights as many producers have gone through three drafts of their calves. With increased supplies recently available weaker feeder and restocker demand created lower values throughout the classes.

Trade weight yearling values remained similar, while the larger volumes of cows seen in physical markets recorded a slightly increased processor demand. The higher values for heavy weight bull sales remained similar in value with little or no change realised.

New South Wales

Throughput increases as dry conditions prevail

Consignments across the state lifted 27 per cent at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS with the majority of saleyards yarding more cattle. Both Inverell and Tamworth yarded more than double the amount of cattle this week, while numbers at Forbes and Wagga were up 31 per cent.

CTLX lifted a further 59 per cent on last week’s levels with a large penning of cows present. Scone was the only market to report a decline in throughput, back 35 per cent due to scattered showers across the region.

Unfinished cattle dominate

Quality remained mixed across the majority of saleyards with plain lines continuing to enter the market with another run of hot dry weather across the state.

Secondary lines are in good numbers, while trade cattle were abundant at Gunnedah and Wagga. Quality improved at Singleton while Scone also had good numbers of butcher vealers available. The usual buyers were present and operating across most categories, with extra restocker and feeder interest at Dubbo, Gunnedah and CTLX.

Prices fluctuate

Prices were mixed across most grades with restocker and feeder buyers selective in their purchases, while process continued to compete well for the better quality lines.

Light vealer steers returning to the paddock sold strongly averaging 191¢, while medium weight C2 heifers to slaughter slipped 2¢ on average finishing on 171¢/kg.

The better quality light yearling steers to restocker orders averaged 8¢ higher on last week making 173¢, while medium weights to feed topped at 187¢ to settle on 168¢/kg.

Heavy C2 lines to feed averaged 166¢, back 5¢kg. Medium yearling heifers to feed generally sold from 130¢ to 166¢ for the better quality lines, while C3 heavy weights to process slipped 3¢ on average making 151¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers to slaughter averaged 164¢ back 4¢, while the light C3 heifer portion averaged 149¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to process sold 3¢ cheaper averaging 111¢, while heavy D3 lines were unchanged on last week making 129¢/kg.


Finished cattle remain hard to source

The continuing hot dry weather increased numbers at markets in the south-east corner of the state, with overall supply lifting by 35 per cent. However, severe heatwave conditions across the supply area in western districts reduced numbers by 23 per cent at the Roma store sale.

The overall quality of the young cattle continues to be very mixed with only a small percentage of well presented classes included in the line-up. The quality of the export classes was fair to good however a there was a short supply of heavy steers and bullocks.

There was a large selection of cows present, primarily consisting of good heavy weight lines. Buyer representation on the young cattle was generally good, while markets earlier in the week did not possess all the usual export buyers. However, as the week progressed all the usual buyers returned to the market.

Secondary lines attract stronger competition

A handful of well presented young cattle met strong competition, and, in a mirror of last week, lesser quality lines lacked demand. Calves to the trade averaged 177¢ while restocker lines averaged 185¢ with the occasional sale to 230¢/kg.

The better end of the lightweight yearling steers to feed and restockers tended to improve at midweek markets, with most in the early to mid 180¢ range with some topping 199¢/kg. A large number of D muscle descriptions continued to meet poor demand with most from 158¢ to 163¢/kg.

Heavy yearling steers to feed experienced a cheaper trend at the midweek markets with a fairly large selection in the mid 170¢ range with isolated sales to 195.6¢/kg. Well presented lightweight yearling heifers averaged 169¢ and sold to 186¢, with D muscle classes at 155¢/kg.

Export cattle prices holding

A short supply of heavy steers averaged 179¢ while a fair line-up of bullocks averaged 175¢ with some supplementary fed lines to 189.2¢/kg.

Restockers provided strong support on suitable cows with most from 120¢ to 130¢ with sales to 138¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows to slaughter averaged 117¢ and 3 scores 132¢/kg. Good heavy cows were in the largest numbers and generally sold to strong demand all week to average 146¢/kg.

South Australia

Dry Conditions, Increased Numbers

With the forecast set to be hot and dry, it was no surprise to see an increase in yardings this week. The SA LE’s numbers increased to around 350 head and featured an improved quality yarding.

Naracoorte’s numbers rose to 1,535 head in quite mixed quality runs for the first combined 2013 market. Mt. Gambier’s slightly smaller yarding sold to an easing trend, with some excellent quality vealers mid-sale lifting prices to dearer levels.

Millicent numbers retreated after the previous week’s mainly lower prices. The 1,900 PTIC females at Naracoorte on Thursday attracted steady restocker inquiry.

Buyers remain selective

The SA LE’s yarding featured small numbers of lightweight vealers, with the steers selling to feeders and the trade. Yearling steers were generally cheaper to feeder activity and the trade.

Yearling heifers followed a similar pattern, albeit with heavy C3 sales dearer. Naracoorte’s mixed quality yarding of local and some pastoral bred cattle attracted limited competition.

The only exception being a small yarding of bulls that were dearer than the magnificent run of some of heavy bulls at last Friday’s market. Mt. Gambier’s sale started at lower levels for the grown steers and bullocks, with only B-muscled vealer steers mid-sale lifting prices out of their early doldrums before retreating later.

Millicent’s sale featured good quality grown Angus steers and some prime quality vealers that attracted a weaker trend.

Most Categories Cheaper

With only isolated sales being dearer, it has been a week of generally lower prices as supplies outweigh demand. The B muscled vealer steers to the trade sold from 155¢ to 204¢ at prices 6¢ dearer for the heavyweights, and 8¢/kg cheaper for the lightweights.

The C muscled sales ranged from 125¢ to 193¢, or 6¢ to 15¢/kg cheaper with the 2 scores most affected. Increased numbers to feeder and restocker orders sold from 117¢ to 176¢ to be 6¢ to 23¢/kg lower.

Vealer heifers to erratic competition sold from 112¢ to 195¢ with B muscled sales at the higher end, to vary from 3¢ to 15¢ cheaper and up to 9¢/kg dearer where weight and quality suited. Yearling steer C3 and B muscled sales ranged between 130¢ and 162¢ with an isolated sale at 193¢, as most attracted prices 5¢ to 13¢/kg less.

Yearling heifer C3 sales were mainly from 122¢ to 158¢ or 6¢ to 7¢/kg lower. Grown steers and bullocks in good quality runs sold from 132¢ to 161¢ at prices 3¢ to 11¢ less, and generally 250¢ to 285¢/kg cwt. The 3 to 5 score beef cows sold from 90¢ to 126¢, or 2¢ to 10¢ cheaper and mainly 190¢ to 240¢/kg cwt.


Numbers on the rise

Total Victorian throughput lifted 6 per cent with most markets reporting similar cattle numbers to last week. Leongatha and Shepparton had increased numbers of export cattle, all of which sold to a cheaper tend, despite some finished cattle scattered throughout.

Numbers lifted by 7 per cent at Wodonga with more grown cattle offered, while consignments at Warrnambool slipped by 10 per cent with just under half the yarding consisting of young cattle. All other selling centres were unchanged on last week’s levels.

Young cattle remain plain

Young cattle continue to remain plain across most saleyards, with some well finished lines available at Pakenham, Ballarat, Warrnambool and Leongatha. Unfinished cattle were still prevalent across Pakenham and Wodonga as restocker and feeder interest was restricted across the majority of markets.

Processors were also reluctant to purchase any unfinished cattle, and most prices across the state reduced due to the quality on offer.

Prices firm to slightly cheaper

Prices across the state were firm to cheaper as restockers, feeder and processor buyers remain selective while the dry weather continues. Heavy B2 muscled vealer steers slipped 7¢ on average making 171¢, while heavy C3 heifer lines to slaughter topped at 184¢ to finish on 154¢/kg.

Heavy yearling steers to process sold 7¢ to 9¢ cheaper for C muscle lines, while feeders paid 159¢/kg on average for C2 lines. Heavy D3 yearling heifers were unchanged on last week prices averaging 139¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers to slaughter averaged 160¢, back 6¢, while C4 bullocks sold from 128¢ to 173¢/kg. Light D3 grown heifers were back 4¢ averaging 137¢, while medium D2 cows to slaughter topped at 121¢ to average 106¢/kg. Heavy D4 beef cows to process were 5¢ cheaper on average finishing on 121¢/kg.

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