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 15 November 2013
clock icon 6 minute read

New South Wales

Scattered storms and showers reduce numbers

Some regions throughout the state received substantial rainfall during the week, whilst others missed out on the forecast rain. Overall cattle numbers remained similar at MLA’s NLRS markets week-on-week.

The hint of improving seasonal conditions halved the penning at Tamworth, as the beginning of the harvest season reduced Wagga by 19 per cent . Forbes lifted their numbers by 14 per cent . Gunnedah and CTLX Carcoar yarded an extra 14 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, as Inverell penned 22 per cent less cattle.

The northern market of Casino failed to attract similar consignments and penned 973 head, as Armidale enjoyed the promised rainfall and halved their numbers. Rainfall throughout the Hunter region reduced numbers at Scone by 16 per cent , as Singleton yarded only 400 cattle.

Dubbo and the surrounding area missed out on the bulk of the promised rainfall and this contributed to Dubbo penning a large offering of 7,320 cattle.

Quality remains fair to mixed

Markets again reported fair to mixed quality offerings, while percentages of prime conditioned cattle were evident throughout most markets.

The larger markets of Wagga, along with CTLX Carcoar and Dubbo, attracted an improved quality penning, as Armidale reported pens of prime conditioned certified grain fed steers. Vealer steers throughout the state were again outnumbered by the heifer portion.

Yearlings were well represented, as around 5,071 steers along with 4,746 heifers were penned. Prime conditioned heavy weight steers suitable for slaughter lifted 37 per cent in total, as fair numbers of the older heifers were penned. Cow numbers slipped, with around 3,900 yarded.

Prices improve

Rainfall helped improve restocker confidence, with prices lifting throughout all the younger categories. Yearling steers to both the restockers and lot feeder orders gained 4¢, as the lightweight yearling heifers to restockers improved as much as 9¢ to 10¢/kg.

Grown steers to slaughter enjoyed extra processor competition, with prices lifting 3¢ to 4¢, to top at 199¢/kg, a premium attained for certified grain fed pens.

The run of heifers sold 2¢ to 3¢ dearer, as prices averaged 155¢ after topping at 184¢/kg. The lower number of cows also enjoyed extra southern and northern processor competition and lifted 4¢ to 6¢/kg. The plainer 2 scores averaged 113¢, as the better covered 3 and 4 scores ranged from 105¢ to 159¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls trended dearer, as the best reached 179¢/kg.

Western Australia

Fine conditions

The far north of WA has seen some wide spread but limited thunderstorm activity which has brought some rainfall to the Kimberley. Conditions in the Murchison and Gascoyne remain very dry with little or no rainfall seen in these areas.

Conditions in the southern corner of WA are solid, with parts of the southwest continuing to remain green. The last of this year’s hay making is close to finishing in south coastal regions.

Generally the past week has been fine, warm and dry in the southern agricultural districts and this has aided harvest activity throughout the regions, with above average yields continuing to be reported.

Pasture levels in the southwest remain very solid and the turn off of prime grass cattle remains high, with most again being sold on a direct-to-works basis.

Turn off levels remain solid

Cattle supplies in the three weekly sales remained fair, with the southwest yarding now enjoying considerably higher volumes than those seen throughout the colder months.

Pastoral cattle supplies from the Murchison and Pilbara regions remained solid at Muchea, with these classes dominating that market’s total yarding.

The two southern markets continued to see good numbers of prime grass finished trade and heavy weight steers and heifers. Vealer supplies remain moderate with good numbers of cows presented for sale, while Muchea had solid supplies of light weight bulls and heifers included in its yarding.

Demand holds steady

Demand from the trade for heavy weight steers, bullocks and heifers remained moderate, but in line with what has been seen recently, with little change seen in prices. This was also the case in trade weight yearling classes, but both steers and heifers enjoyed an increase in prices late in the week from one added live export order.

Cow demand remains fair, with prime heavy weight sales easing moderately, while demand for heavy weight slaughter bulls remains conservative from the processing sector.


Forecasts for rain cause overall numbers to ease

Total Queensland throughput, as reported by MLA’s NLRS, reduced 17 per cent week-on-week to total 9,000 head. Scattered showers over the supply area saw numbers at Dalby slip 41 per cent , while Warwick eased just 4 per cent on last week. The Toowoomba Elders and Landmark sales yarded 62 per cent and 18 per cent fewer cattle, respectively. However, these falls were moderated by a lift in Roma’s yardings, with the store sale attracting 23 per cent greater numbers and the prime sale increasing 10 per cent later in the week.

Variable quality

Quality was mixed at most centres this week, with Roma Prime and Warwick reporting a wide variation in quality throughout the sale.

Young cattle dominated the selling pens at Toowoomba Elders with grown cattle in relatively short supply, while at Roma Prime the yarding was dominated by a large consignment of bullocks from the far western corner of the state. Restocker buyers were active at Roma Store, while feedlot buyers competed strongly on medium weight yearling heifers.

At Dalby, however, restockers were scarce and operated only selectively, with secondary quality lines meeting limited demand. Stronger support from all categories of buyers at Warwick pushed averaged prices upwards for medium and heavy weight young cattle, with heavy grown steers and bullocks also experiencing noticeably dearer trends.

Dearer price trends

A large supply of light weight C2 yearling steers to restockers averaged 3¢ dearer on 181¢, while medium weight C2 and 3 score steers to feeder buyers lifted 1¢ to 8¢ to average 175¢/kg. Heavy C2 and 3 scores to feeders gained 6¢ to 11¢ to return around 182¢/kg. Light D2 heifers to restock improved 22¢ to average 146¢, while those to feeders were close to firm on 142¢/kg.

Heavy C4 grown steers and bullocks were up 2¢ to 4¢ as average prices settled around 186c/kg. The plainer light weight beef cows were 5¢ dearer on 93¢, medium D3 lines were 6¢ higher on 129¢, and heavy D4 cows gained 8¢ to average 151¢/kg.

Southern Australia

Numbers climb

Overall yardings increased by 22 per cent week-on-week at MLA’s NLRS reported markets to total 4,444 head, despite the absence of the fortnightly Millicent sale. Mount Gambier lifted its throughput by 53 per cent to 2,710 head. Naracoorte and the SA Livestock Exchange also recorded a rise in numbers, penning 24 per cent and 15 per cent more cattle, respectively.

Buyer competition varies

Quality was mixed at the SA Livestock Exchange, while both Mount Gambier and Naracoorte reporting generally good quality yardings. Competition at the SA Livestock Exchange lifted this week, with feeders and restockers active on light weight steers.

Competition also remained strong at Naracoorte, particularly for the yearlings which were in in greater numbers. In contrast, the usual field of buyers were less prominent at Mount Gambier this week, with restockers and feeders cautious in their purchases.

Grown cattle prices ease

Heavy weight C3 vealer steers to processors sold at an average price of 193¢, back 10¢, while their heifer equivalents settled on 180¢, easing 3¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling steers to slaughter gained 3¢ to average 180¢, while 4 scores lifted 6¢ to 191¢/kg.

Medium weight C3 yearling heifers gained 8¢ to average 162¢, with heavy lines were only marginally higher on 166¢/kg. The C3 heavy grown steers and bullocks slipped 5¢ to 176¢/kg. Heavy D3 beef cows were also back 5¢ to sell at an average price of 133¢/kg.

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