MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian territory by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
calendar icon 10 May 2013
clock icon 8 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Western Australia

Fronts produce solid rainfall figures

Several strong frontal systems crossed the WA coast this week bringing wide spread and solid rainfall across the state, including areas as far north as Exmouth. The largest falls were recorded in southwest and coastal areas with the traditional cattle grazing areas in the southwest having very large falls of up to 100mm.

These however did not flow too far to the east with wheatbelt areas again receiving only moderate falls. This rainfall has brought much relief to graziers in the south and has now guaranteed feed supplies leading up and into the winter season.

With temperatures remaining moderate and reasonably warm for this time of year, pasture growth will, in the short term, be very solid. Having said this, supplementary feeding continues for much of the agricultural districts with calving activity still high. Mustering continues to increase in the northern pastoral areas.

Yardings decrease

Physical saleyard numbers were marginally lower this week, due to lower supplies at Great Southern. Despite an increase in Muchea’s numbers, the southwest numbers remained limited. As has been the case in recent times, the numbers of trade and heavy weight steers and heifers remained limited, while all sales saw solid supplies of young store cattle.

Cow volumes remained fair with the majority of cattle again sourced from local areas, with pastoral supplies remaining only moderate. Processor and retailer demand for the limited supplies of trade and heavy weight prime cattle remained solid and unchanged.

The majority of store classes enjoyed an increase in demand from both the feeder and restocker sectors with the majority of classes 5¢/kg lwt dearer. Trade demand for cows improved marginally with heavy weight prime cows approximating 135¢/kg lwt on average, which remained well above reported levels from the east coast.

South Australia

Reduced yardings

There was little rain this week, and producers are facing a dry cold winter with little winter feed on the horizon. The lower saleyard prices have led to numbers retreating at all SA markets.

The SA LE’s quality slipped on a smaller yarding that sold to lower demand from the usual trade and export buyers. Feeder orders were also active at lower prices for suitable yearling steers and heifers. The few cows penned were slightly dearer.

Naracoorte’s smaller mixed quality runs sold to limited selective SA and Victorian trade and export competition. Only a few young cattle and grown steers were dearer while the plain quality and cows sold at lower levels, due to a lack of restocker activity, with feeder purchases at improved prices.

Mt. Gambier’s quality slipped and sold to minimal trade and processor competition at reduced prices due to a couple of regular buyers being absent. Restocker and feeder orders were also able to lower their prices as they sourced a large percentage of the young cattle.

Millicent’s first sale in three weeks was also not immune to the lower prices being paid on the small numbers yarded.

Prices retreat

Limited vealer steers to the trade and local butchers sold from 162¢ to 185¢/kg. Feeder and restocker purchases ranged from 135¢ to 168¢/kg, with lightweights dearer and the medium weights cheaper. Small numbers of vealer heifers to the trade sold from 134¢ to 180¢, to be generally unchanged to 17¢/kg less.

Feeders sourced C1 and C2 mainly lightweight heifers from 105¢ to 160¢, with C2 sales 4¢/kg dearer. Yearling steer C3 and B-muscled medium and heavyweights sold between 140¢ and 214¢, with the heavyweights averaging 16¢/kg cheaper. Yearling heifer C3 medium and heavyweights sold between 134¢ and 182¢, to be 4¢ to 11¢/kg less.

Grown steer and bullock C2, C3 and B-muscled medium and heavyweights sold from 132¢ to 185¢ at prices unchanged to 6¢/kg cheaper, and averaging around 310¢/kg cwt. The 2 to 5 score medium and heavy beef cows sold from 60¢ to 113¢, 2¢ to 22¢ cheaper and mainly 150¢ to 215¢/kg, with plain quality D1 pastoral bred cows selling under 80¢/kg cwt.


Yardings decrease

The reduction in market prices has reduced overall supply at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS by 25 per cent . The Longreach and Blackall sales were cancelled due to the lack of support from cattle producers, and regardless of the dry conditions and the onset of winter, the majority of selling centres recorded smaller numbers.

Overall quality continues to slip and young cattle remained in the largest numbers, while grown steers, bullocks and cows reduced by around 55 per cent . Buyer representation was not as good as the previous week, with some feeder operators absent from the buying gallery and a small panel of export buyers were present at markets early in the week.

Prices continue to lower

Restockers, feeder operators, plus local and southern processors displayed less interest in most classes of young cattle, and prices suffered accordingly. Losses of 10¢ to 20¢/kg were fairly common, and in places prices fell by 30¢/kg. Calves to restockers averaged 155¢ and a small selection of slaughter descriptions averaged 128¢/kg.

Vealer steers to feed averaged 150¢ and restocker lines 168¢, with the occasional sale at Warwick to local butchers at 190¢/kg. A very large supply of vealer heifers lost a further 9¢ to average 135¢ with a selected few to local butchers reaching 189¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to restockers continued to flood the market and the better lines averaged 163¢ and D muscle classes 141¢/kg.

The shorter supply of medium weight yearling steers to feed managed to average 160¢ and D muscle descriptions generally sold in the 140¢/kg range. Heavy feeders were scarce and most sold around 153¢/kg. The best of the yearling heifers sold in the 130¢ range, while D muscle classes were in the largest numbers with average prices from 118¢ to 129¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers to export slaughter averaged 2¢ better at 154¢ and sold to 164¢/kg. The small selection of bullocks made to 165.2¢ to average 153¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 81¢ and 3 scores 100¢/kg. The best of the good cows made to 126.2¢ with most at 115¢/kg.


Yarding numbers were overall higher

Individual supply levels at markets covered by MLA’s NLRS varied, while one or two saleyards were much higher than their previous week’s sale. All up they posted close to a 50 per cent rise despite the lower prices paid over the last few weeks. Quality continues to dwindle weekly as the long dry spell continues and the nights are much cooler and days shorter. Most saleyards have higher numbers of plain and average quality cattle however Wodonga yarded an improvement in quality with good runs of grown steers and young cattle.

Buyers still supporting markets

All the regular buyers attended markets, with the exception of Bairnsdale where there was a smaller field, while all major export companies weren’t operating at Wodonga’s cow and bull sale. There was generally more restocker activity and competition at markets, especially for the young cattle.

However, prices were again lower with buyer interest still limited. Poor to plain quality lines were affected the most with heavy discounts reported across most sales. Some light weight cow prices were reduced by over 30¢/kg as processors are reportedly fully booked weeks in advance, and only purchasing at markets to fill suitable orders. This has been the case due to a week of high yarding numbers across most Eastern state markets.

Prices generally firm to cheaper

The C2 and C3 medium and heavy weight vealers mostly sold between 140¢ and 215¢ with the tops at 226.2¢, remaining firm to 10¢/kg cheaper. Medium and heavy weight C3 yearling steers made from 144¢ to 210¢ averaging firm to 11¢/kg less week-on-week. The grown steers ranged between 135¢ and 194¢ to average 7¢ to 8¢/kg cheaper. Cows were mostly 10¢ less with the medium weight D1’s from 40¢ to 105¢/kg. The D2 heavy weight dairy cows made 88¢ to 118¢ and the C3 to C5 beef cows were between 102¢c and 130¢/kg.

New South Wales

Consignments continue to increase

With some pockets of the state returning to drought conditions cattle numbers continue to roll with consignments lifting 11 per cent week on week. Wagga started the trend to pen 700 extra while CTLX recorded a centre record at 3920 head.

Dubbo failed to attract the same high numbers recorded the previous week, however consignments still remained on the large side. Gunnedah yarded 60 per cent extra as the Hunter markets trended differently with Scone lifting as Singleton lost numbers. The northern markets also eased in numbers week on week.

Quality continues to be mixed

The majority of markets reported mixed quality offerings. Vealer supply throughout the state lifted, especially the heifer portion with 3,078 penned compared to around 2,870 steers. Large percentages of heifers went to processor orders and the steer portion mainly sold to restockers and feeders.

Yearling steers and heifers lifted in number with large percentages selling to restocker and feeder orders. Heavy weight prime conditioned grown steers and bullocks remained similar in numbers week on week. Cow numbers again lifted as 18 per cent extra were offered compared to the previous week.

Prices continue to slip

Younger cattle again sold to a cheaper trend as vealer steers returned to the paddock less 8¢ to 13¢/kg, while prime conditioned pens to butchers sold to solid competition. The lighter heifer portion to the trade lost 10¢/kg.

Yearling steers to restockers and feed trended cheaper by 7¢ to 10¢ and more in places as the prime heavy weights suitable for the trade and butcher orders also eased 7¢/kg. Yearling heifers struggled to attract strong competition to slip 1¢ to the feeders and up to 12c/kg to the restockers. Heavy weights suitable for the butchers lost 8¢/kg.

Grown steers and bullocks also trended cheaper, however only marginally. Cows lost value as greater numbers were offered to reduced competition. Prices slipped 4¢ to 6¢ as the medium weighted 2 scores averaged 81¢ while the better finished 3 and 4 scores ranged from 70¢ to 121¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls to processors trended cheaper by 5¢ as the best reached 165¢/kg.

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