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 9 December 2013
clock icon 8 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Western Australia

Numbers lift with more pastoral cattle penned

Numbers lifted slightly this week by close to 5 per cent with more numbers brought forward at Mount Barker, says Meat and Livestock Australia.

MLA analysts say this is due to the first split sale for the year, while temperatures remained moderate with the majority of producers nearing the end of their harvest.

The drier than usual conditions throughout the supply areas have seen feed quality become an issue, despite this, reports suggest the quality of the young cattle has been considerable good with yearling steers and heifers improving by 3¢ to 5¢/kg.

The added live export activity along with the usual feeder and restocker buyers was the main driver behind improved prices for young cattle. Grown cattle were slightly cheaper with subdued processor interest due to quality, although pastoral drafts at Muchea lifted up to 15¢/kg.

Quality remains good for vealer lines

With quality improving over the past few weeks for vealer lines prices were relatively steady, with 400kg steers at Mt Barker ranging from 159¢to 163¢, while light weight drafts improved topping at 234¢ to average 209¢/kg. Vealer heifers in excess of 400kg sold from 159¢ to 163¢/kg, 330kg and over rose 10¢/kg, 166¢ to 185¢/kg to equal 173¢/kg, lightweights were unchanged 164¢ to 184¢/kg to average 166¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers sold from 154¢to 171¢, while the heifer equivalents were limited in numbers ranging from 125¢ to 135¢/kg. Cow quality remained steady with well finished cows averaging 127¢ with over finished lines discounted ranging from 70¢to 118¢/kg. The majority of the bulls sold firm from 98¢ to 125¢/kg.

Heifers dearer at Muchea

Light pastoral bulls were the dominant feature at Muchea with the remainder of the market generally mixed. Local trade cattle were generally firm to dearer especially for heifers due to quality. Heavy vealer steers averaged 195¢, while heifers ranged from 177¢ to 190¢, up 6¢/kg.

Yearling steers generally ranged from 175¢ to 190¢ while heifers sold between 165¢ to 184¢/kg. Vealer steers to restock and feed ranged from 200¢ to 207¢, while heifers were firm to 5¢/kg dearer.

Export prices were generally mixed with the better quality pastoral drafts up 15¢ averaging 150¢, while grown heifers eased slightly ranging from 90¢ to 155¢/kg. Cow prices eased 7¢ for medium weights averaging 115¢, while large numbers of manufacturing type bulls saw prices ease 10¢ to sell from 70¢ to 110¢/kg.

South Australia

Increased export cattle lifts throughput

Consignments lifted by 39 per cent with close to a 1,500 head increase week-on-week at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS. Throughput at Mount Gambier lifted 46 per cent and Naracoorte jumped 81 per cent , while the SA Livestock Exchange defied the trend to yard 13 per cent fewer cattle. Increased numbers of heavy grown steers were offered at Naracoorte, while the majority of the yarding consisted of yearling cattle at Mount Gambier.

Buyers remain selective on finished lines

The usual buyers were in attendance across the majority of markets this week, although not all operated, with many remaining selective due to the increase in supply. Quality was a factor behind more limited buyer interest, especially at the SA Livestock Exchange, while an absent processor Naracoorte saw price decline predominately for export cattle. Restockers were more active this week at Mount Gambier, which saw prices improve for secondary lines.

Lift in supply drives prices down

Prices generally trended dearer across most categories, as buyers remained tentative after an influx of numbers. Heavy vealer steers to process topped at 210¢, but averaged 185¢, back 13¢/kg week-on-week. The heifer equivalents generally ranged from 148¢ to 190¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to restock jumped 12¢ on the back of improved growing conditions, averaging 163¢, while prices C3 lines to process varied from 123¢ to 175¢/kg. Heavy steers to process topped at 204¢ to average 165¢, while medium weight heifers averaged 150¢, back 15¢/kg on last week. Heavy C3 bullocks slipped 10¢ week-on-week, ranging from 147¢ to 180¢, while heavy weight C3 heifers topped at 173¢ to average 158¢/kg. Medium D2 and 3 score cows slipped 4¢ to 5¢, averaging close to 107¢, while heavy D3 lines topped at 112¢ to average 103¢/kg.


Numbers jump after rain last week

Consignments continued to lift on the back of last week’s improved prices as all selling centres reported by MLA’s NLRS experienced increased yardings. Total numbers jumped 11 per cent , with larger lines of young cattle present at Dalby, while the condition of cattle at Roma store lacked finish as most were more suited to feeder and restocker buyers.

Despite numbers lifting 22 per cent at Warwick, feeder and restocker buyers were keen to source suitable lines, while export type cattle remained in limited numbers. Throughput at Dalby increased 8 per cent , with the highlight being that close to 1,100 head were sold in the new selling complex. Yardings at Toowoomba increased 19 per cent week-on-week.

Feeders and restockers more active

Feeder buyers and restockers were more active this week following rainfall throughout much of central Queensland, although those lines lacking quality were discounted. Feeders and restockers competed strongly at Toowoomba to see prices improve, while at Warwick prices lifted for the secondary lines. As the numbers of well finished grown cattle decline prices have held relatively firm, although competition remains subdued despite the Christmas break looming.

Prices lift for export cattle

Prices for young cattle were generally cheaper due to buyers being selective in their purchases, while export lines sold dearer as numbers dwindle. Light yearling steers to restock were firm to 12¢ cheaper with C2 lines averaging 191¢ and D2 lines finishing close to 163¢/kg. Medium and heavy weights to feed were relatively steady, with prices hovering around 185¢ to 190¢/kg on average.

Light weight heifers returning to the paddock averaged close to 156¢, back 9¢ week-on-week, while feeder buyers were keen to source C3 medium weights from 162¢ to 182¢/kg. Heavyweight C4 grown steers and bullocks lifted from 2¢ to 5¢, hovering around 195¢, while D3 light grown heifers topped at 167¢ to average 157¢/kg. Medium D3 beef cows to process averaged 139¢, up 2¢, while heavy D4 lines topped at 177¢ to average 162¢/kg.


Numbers increase at larger markets

Yardings lifted at the majority of the markets reported by MLA’s NLRS this week, with total numbers up by 13 per cent , as the larger markets of Wodonga and Shepparton offered increased supplies. Leongatha’s throughput jumped 49 per cent , while Camperdown rose 9 per cent week-on-week. Warrnambool’s numbers lifted, with grown steers and bullocks showing the increase to attract stronger demand from Northern processors and locals on the well finished lines. Ballarat yarded 24 per cent fewer cattle, with limited numbers of plainer vealers and yearlings offered, while Bairnsdale and Pakenham increased overall consignments by 5 per cent and 20 per cent , respectively.

Quality remains steady

Quality was generally good across most markets, with most categories being well represented in both the young and grown cattle sections. Heavyweights were in good condition, with reasonable numbers offered at Pakenham and Wodonga, and major purchases were made by Northern export processors. At Warrnambool yearlings were mixed in quality, with most of the heifers going to restockers and feeder orders, while at Shepparton trade cattle showed good finish but not necessarily good shape.

Prices generally ease

Heavyweight B2 vealer steers improved 5¢, averaging 196¢, while their heifer equivalents eased 3¢ to average 175¢/kg. Heavyweight C2 yearling steers to feeder buyers were back 6¢ to average 164¢, while heavy C3 lines to processors averaged were 1¢ lower to settle on 177¢/kg. Medium weight C2 yearling heifers to feeders slipped 14¢ to average 142¢, while and heavy C3 heifers sold between 132¢ and 200¢/kg to be slightly cheaper.

The heavyweight C4 grown steers eased 3¢ to average 172¢ after a top price of 184¢/kg. Light D3 grown heifers sold between 125¢ and 175¢, back 4¢ week-on-week and averaging 147¢/kg. Light D2 manufacturing steers were slightly dearer and rose 4¢ to settle on 134¢, while heavy D3 and 4 score beef cows ranged from 120¢ to 149¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers remain similar

Although very little rainfall was recorded throughout the state, consignments remained similar in number week-on-week. Wagga gained 17 per cent for a large offering of 5,730 cattle, while Forbes maintained good numbers to pen 2,870 head. CTLX Carcoar marketed record prime cattle numbers, as Gunnedah defied the trend to slip 23 per cent week-on-week.

Follow up rainfall recorded around the Armidale region caused numbers to ease 19 per cent , as Inverell also penned fewer cattle. The Hunter markets both improved 22 per cent in total, however the previous markets were rain affected. Tamworth gained 17 per cent , while Dubbo failed to maintain record levels, although consignments remained high for 6,840 cattle penned.

Quality was fair to good

Markets reported fair to good quality consignments, while Gunnedah failed to achieve the quality recorded at the previous market. Dubbo yarded good percentages of prime conditioned pens, along with fair numbers of the plainer western lines.

The majority of markets reported yearling steers being well supplied, as over 7,000 were offered throughout MLA’s NLRS reported markets. The yearling heifers slipped marginally in number, for 5,871 penned, with the northern feeder and restocker buyers competing strongly on yearlings across the state to secure numbers. Heavy weight grown steers maintained similar numbers week-on-week, with another 2,000 yarded. Cow consignments lifted by 17 per cent , for a yarding of 6,031, with the majority being the better conditioned medium and heavy weights.

Prices remain firm to slightly cheaper

The 200kg plus vealer heifers, sold close to firm to average 167¢, after topping at 182¢/kg. The lighter end of the yearling steers trended 4¢ cheaper, as the heavier pens averaged 2¢/kg, either side of firm.

Prices ranged from 140¢ to 202¢, for the medium weights to the feeders, as the prime heavy weights to the butchers reached 205¢/kg. Yearling heifers trended marginally cheaper. Grown steers to slaughter lost 2¢ to 4¢ and reached 200¢/kg.

The C3 grown heifers slipped 6¢ to average 159¢/kg. Cows averaged close enough to firm, however Dubbo trended cheaper. The plainer 2 scores averaged 116¢, as the better finished 3 and 4 score cows ranged from 106¢ to 167¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls averaged similar prices, week-on-week, with most sales to the processors around the 155¢ to 160¢/kg range.

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