Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - The following report is a collection of market summaries from the previous week across Australia's territories from analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
calendar icon 8 August 2014
clock icon 7 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia


Supplies contract

Victorian cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, contracted 20 per cent week-on-week, to 9,189 head. Supplies at Shepparton and Wodonga remained similar, while yardings tightened 42 per cent at Warrnambool, to 520 head.

Leongatha and Bairnsdale supplies both dropped 18 per cent, to 1,121 head and 688 head, respectively, while throughput at Pakenham decreased 27 per cent, to 1,109 head. Colac and Camperdown both yarded less than 400 head, while supplies at Ballarat eased to just offer 121 head.

Quality varies

MLA analysts write that quality was fairly mixed across all markets this week, while Wodonga reported a good quality yarding. There was a limited selection of good quality vealers and grain assisted yearlings at Pakenham, while vealers were of good quality at Bairnsdale. There were very few lines of supplementary fed cattle at Wodonga. Not all buyers operated at Pakenham and Warrnambool, while local restockers were in attendance and operated on mostly plainer quality yearlings.

Prices hold mostly firm

Heavy weight B2 vealer steers to slaughter were 2¢ higher on 210¢, while heavy weight C3 vealer heifers to slaughter eased 14¢ to settle on 186¢/kg. Medium weight C2 yearling steers to feed decreased 2¢ to 186¢, while heavier weights were 3¢ cheaper on 190¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 yearling steers to slaughter eased 1¢ to 197¢/kg. Medium weight C3 and D3 yearling heifers to slaughter slipped 2¢ to 7¢ and ranged from 132¢ to 216¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 and D3 yearling heifers were firm to slightly cheaper to average between 174¢ and 185¢/kg.

Heavy weight C3 grown steers to slaughter gained 1¢, to average 193¢, while bullocks to slaughter increased 4¢ to settle on 196¢/kg. Medium weight D3 grown heifers to slaughter eased 7¢ to 158¢, while heavy weight dairy manufacturing steers were unchanged in price to average 168¢/kg. Heavy weight D1 dairy cows lifted 1¢ to 135¢, while heavy weight D3 and D4 cows to slaughter improved 1¢ to 3¢ to range in price from 134¢ to 167¢/kg.


Supply eases

Overall Queensland cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, was 10 per cent lower week-on-week, totalling 11,972 head. Dalby saw its numbers reduce by 27 per cent, to 3,560 head, while Warwick eased 11 per cent, for 1,065 head yarded. Consignments at Roma store were close to firm at 5,500 head, while Thursday’s prime sale penned 73 per cent more cattle, at 709 head. Throughput at Toowoomba Elders was back 26 per cent, to 588 head, while Toowoomba Landmark gained 4 per cent to pen 550 in total.

Grown cattle quality lifts

Roma store penned some good lines of young cattle from the local and western regions, as well as areas further north, with processors active on well-conditioned vealers and light weight yearlings. Warwick reported wide variations in quality, with young light weight cattle experiencing a tough market, while medium and heavy weights to the trade were supported by solid demand.

The overall quality of the grown cattle section improved at Dalby and Roma prime, with this resulting in spirited bidding and dearer trends. The majority of the heavy steers penned at Toowoomba Landmark were in the older age bracket, with this a factor in price changes.

Heavy export lines dearer

Medium weight C2 vealer steers to restock sold 4¢ dearer on 180¢, while C2 vealer heifers to processors were 1¢ cheaper and averaged 142¢/kg. A large sample of light weight C2 yearling steers returned to the paddock at prices 12¢ cheaper, averaging 175¢, while the D2’s eased 3¢ to 157¢/kg. Light D2 yearling heifers purchased by restockers were 15¢ cheaper, averaging 135¢, while C2’s to feeders held firm on 155¢/kg.

Medium weight 2 score grown steers to feeder buyers were 1¢ dearer and averaged 172¢, while C muscled heavy grown steers and bullocks to slaughter were 3¢ to 5¢ dearer and settled in the early 160¢/kg range. Light C3 heifers to process lifted 7¢ to 152¢ and the D2 lines to restock jumped 25¢ on 139¢/kg. Medium D2 beef cows to all orders gained up to 11¢, averaging 114¢, while good heavy D3’s also lifted by 11¢ to return vendors an average price of 128¢/kg. Heavy B2 bulls topped at 189¢ before averaging 176¢, up 10¢/kg week-on-week.

New South Wales

Cattle consignments increase

Consignments lifted 7 per cent, for a total of 24,636 cattle offered at MLA’s NLRS reported markets this week. Wagga increased 3 per cent, to total 4,950 head, as Forbes gained 8 per cent and penned 2,745 head. Tamworth yarded 8 per cent extra cattle, for a total of 1077 head, while CTLX slipped 5 per cent to yard 2,480 head. Gunnedah offered 1,710 head, increasing 26 per cent, week-on-week. The Hunter markets of Scone and Singleton both yarded equal consignments, as Scone penned 992 and Singleton offered 550 head. The northern market of Armidale again penned low numbers at 480 head, while Inverell lost 9 per cent and Casino lifted its total by 7 per cent, to offer 1,400 cattle. Dubbo gained 7 per cent, for another large offering of 6,500 head.

Quality remains mixed

Wagga offered increased numbers of yearlings along with cows finished on wheat crops, as Forbes penned good numbers of well finished grain assisted cattle. The supply of well finished cattle at Tamworth was limited, while Gunnedah mainly offered younger vealers and yearlings. Quality for the younger drafts at Scone slipped week-on-week, while quality at CTLX was on average good. Dubbo penned a mixed quality yarding, with around 2,000 cows offered.

Prices remain firm to dearer

Medium weight vealer steers returning to the paddock lifted 8¢/kg, as the heavier weights to the butchers sold close to firm. The vealer heifers also sold at unchanged prices. Yearling steers throughout all weight ranges sold 2¢ to 3¢ either side of firm, as the well finished heavier weights to the lot feeders averaged 197¢, after topping at 209¢/kg. Firm to dearer trends were also recorded for the heifer portion.

Heavy weight grown steers to slaughter remained close to firm, to average around the 188¢ to 200¢, after reaching 208¢/kg. Cows continue to sell to strong southern processor competition, to gain 2¢ to 5¢/kg. The plainer 2 scores averaged 122¢, as the better covered 3 and 4 scores averaged from 135¢ to 158¢, with the best reaching 166¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls continue to sell well, with the best to the processors topping at 198¢/kg.

Western Australia

Numbers increase

Cattle numbers were up at both centres, rising by 850 head to finish with 2,749 head in total for the week. Quality at both centres was mixed, with some good lines of well finished trade cattle, along with a good selection of young cattle suited to the feeders and restockers. Cows were also well supplied at both centres, while there were very few grown steers and heifers yarded. The normal runs of pastoral cattle were yarded at Muchea.

Prices lose ground

Trade cattle to the processors struggled to hold their own at both centres, finishing 1¢ to 4¢ cheaper for the steers despite the best yearling steers at Muchea selling for 276¢/kg. The market was up to 12¢/kg easier for the heifers. In contrast young cattle to the feeders finished 4¢/kg dearer. Limited numbers of grown steers finished the week on a dearer note, with the better types selling from 208¢ to 247¢/kg. The large selection of cows finished the week on a cheaper note with most grades losing 4¢ to 8¢ despite the best cows selling on 209¢/kg. Bulls fell by around 12¢ for the week, with the heavier weights to the processors topping at 199¢/kg.

Southern Australia

Supply eases

Total SA cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, was 18 per cent lower week-on-week, to total 1,979 head. Throughput at Naracoorte eased 8 per cent, to 997 head, while numbers at the SA Livestock Exchange declined 13 per cent, to 277 head. Mount Gambier’s supply was close to firm, with 705 head penned.

Buyer activity mixed

Quality was mixed at the SA Livestock Exchange, with trade and processor buyers less active this week, while feeders and restockers were more prominent in the young cattle sale. In contrast, processors provided solid support at Mount Gambier and restockers were only cautiously active on suitable lines. Naracoorte yarded mainly store conditioned cattle, which sold to a reduced field of buyers at cheaper prices. Processors bid keenly on cows across all markets and the better quality selection of grown steers penned at Mount Gambier attracted stronger demand week-on-week.

Young cattle prices ease

Medium weight C3 yearling steers to processors were 2¢ cheaper, averaging 188¢, while the heavy weights gained 1¢ to settle on 197¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to all orders generally met cheaper trends, back by up to 14¢, and the heavy weight C3’s to processors eased 6¢ to average 178¢/kg.

The limited supply of C3 heavy grown steers and bullocks to slaughter sold a touch either side of firm, averaging 200¢/kg. Heavy C3 heifers to slaughter were back 6¢ to return vendors and average price of 171¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 and C4 beef cows were 2¢ to 6¢ cheaper week-on-week, averaging 151¢, while the D3’s eased 4¢ to 146¢ and the D4’s lifted 12¢ to top at 164¢ and average 158¢/kg.

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