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Weekly Cattle Summary

14 December 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Western Australia

Thunderstorms Persist

Much of the state of WA recorded thunderstorm activity once again this week with the Ag districts in the south of the state recording wide spread heavy falls. The majority of these were recorded in the southwest and Great Southern areas where falls were again recorded in some areas well above 100mm and this brought isolated flooding.

Once again the majority of areas will get little or no benefit from these moisture levels with most having now hayed off, but again some benefit will be seen from increased dam storage levels. The northern and eastern pastoral regions also recorded wide spread thunderstorm activity with conditions remaining fair in these areas.

Larger Vealer Supplies See Weaker Demand

There was another solid increase in physical market numbers this week with all three markets recording increases in their overall supplies. The larger numbers were due to increased turnoff off locally produced cattle this week with only moderate supplies of pastoral cattle recorded as would be expected at this time of year.

All three markets had increased supplies of new season vealers this week with the southwest and Great Southern sales accounting for the majority of these. There were also increased supplies of yearlings and local cows as feed levels in many areas north and to the east of Perth struggling with dwindling feed supplies while the volumes of heavy weight steers and heifers remained tight. There was an increase in vealer weight and quality.

Feeder and restocker demand diminished this week with all weight and sex classes recording lower values. Trade weight yearlings recorded a similar feeder and local trade competition with values comparable to the previous week.

This was also the case in heavy weight steer and heifer sales where processor demand remained conservative and selective. The cow market saw a slight increase in processor demand with values further rising form the dearer values of the previous week.


End of Year Boost

The continuing dry weather across a large area of the state combined with the annual close-down over Christmas resulted in supply at saleyards lifting by 25 per cent. Numbers doubled for the final sale for 2012 at the Roma combined store and prime sale on Tuesday with large consignments of cattle from northwest Queensland and Northern Territory.

Quality continues to be very mixed across most categories and once again this was most noticeable in the heavy steer and bullock portion at Dalby. Buyer attendance was generally good with representatives covering all classes.

Prices Varied

Young cattle at markets early in the week suffered price reductions, however by midweek some poor quality classes to restockers improved in price. Calves returning to the paddock made to 209.2¢ with a fair sample at 198¢, while D muscle classes averaged 174¢/kg. Vealer heifers were generally scarce with just the occasional well presented single sale to the butcher trade at 216.2¢/kg.

Lightweight yearling steers to restockers improved 8¢ to average just under 199¢ with sales to 212.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 176¢, however a very large number of D muscle categories to feed and restockers mostly sold in the early to mid-160¢/kg range .The better end of the lightweight yearling heifers averaged 189¢, while poorer quality lines were in the largest numbers and averaged from 155¢ to 164¢/kg.

Good heavy steers and bullocks were scarce and prices across all markets remained relatively firm for the standard penned. Heavy 3 score steers averaged 168¢ and the better categories in the high 170¢/kg range.

Good heavy bullocks averaged 178¢ with the occasional pen to the wholesale meat trade making to 192.2¢/kg. Medium weight plain cows averaged 111¢ and 2 scores sold to 124¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to a top of 173.2¢ with most around 151¢/kg.

New South Wales

Throughput Lifts

Total throughput lifted 21 per cent at markets reported MLA’s NLRS as the majority of saleyards yarded more cattle. As a result of saleyards starting to conclude for the year Gunnedah yarded twice as many cattle as last week.

Forbes lifted a further 33 per cent week-on-week, while consignments at Casino and Scone increased by around 20 per cent, with larger numbers of plain young cattle yarded. Wagga was up by 19 per cent with good numbers of suitable cattle for processors offered, while consignments at Dubbo remained steady on last week’s levels.

Quality Mixed

Saleyards continue to contain mixed quality yardings across all categories, as the dry winter has taken its toll on finished lines. Despite this, some good lines of supplementary fed cattle were present at Scone, Singleton and Wagga attracting a premium.

Trade cattle dominated the yarding at CTLX with feeder and restockers competing for the majority. The usual buyers were operating at most markets, while extra feeder and processors buyers were present at Gunnedah and Wagga.

Prices Fluctuate

Prices were firm to slightly dearer in places, while processors were also keen to secure numbers before the conclusion of all saleyards for the year. Medium C2 vealer steers to restockers topped at 225¢ to average 196¢, while medium weight C2 heifers to slaughter averaged 196¢, unchanged on last week’s prices. Medium yearling steers to feed lifted 2¢ on average making 181¢, while heavy weights generally sold from 150¢ to 195¢/kg. Light yearling heifers returning to the paddock topped at 177¢ for C2 lines averaging 160¢, while medium C2’s to feeder orders made 158¢, up 2¢/kg.

Heavy grown C3 steers to process averaged 2¢ higher on 184¢ while C4 bullocks were steady on 168¢/kg. Light C3 heifers eased 8¢ on 150¢/kg. Medium D3 cows averaged 128¢, while heavy D4 lines topped at 147¢ to make 133¢/kg.

New South Wales

Increased Numbers

Despite the lower prices being paid last week, another week of dry hot weather conditions led to numbers increasing as producers destock.

The SA Livestock exchange had a slightly smaller mixed quality yarding of mainly young cattle that sold to an easing trend being provided by the usual trade and export buyers.

Feeder buyers were more selective, with only well bred light and medium weight yearlings attracting their attention. Apart from isolated sales of yearling heifers and cows that were dearer, most other categories tended to sell at lower levels.

With Naracoorte’s sale back to one day, there was a larger yarding in mixed quality runs that met with fluctuating competition from most of the usual SA and Victorian buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were also active on the young cattle, although the 5,577 weaner steers that sold on Thursday tested everyone’s resolve. Most vealers lost ground as did the yearling heifers and grown steers. However, C3 yearling steers and the cows tended to sell at dearer levels.

Mt. Gambier’s smaller good quality yarding sold to steady trade and export competition, with most buyers only sourcing limited numbers where quality suited. Feeder and restocker orders were also active as prices for the young cattle tended to lose further ground. Grown steers were mainly dearer, while the cows remained basically unchanged.

Millicent’s smaller yarding sold to limited trade and export inquiry from a small number of regular buyers, in a yarding that contained mainly young cattle. Strangely most vealer steers were dearer, while the other categories sold at lower levels.

Prices Retreat Further

It has been another week of retreating prices, with only isolated sales being dearer where quality suited.

The B-muscled vealer steers to Victorian wholesale competition sold from 170¢ to 208¢ to be unchanged, with the C-muscled 3¢ to 14¢/kg less, or 150¢ to 190¢/kg. Feeder and restocker orders sourced light and medium weight steers from 135¢ to 178¢/kg. Vealer heifers are becoming an unwanted commodity as most sold from 135¢ to 189¢, to be 7¢ to 18¢/kg less.

Yearling steer C3 and B2 sales were between 136¢ and 184¢ at basically unchanged prices. The yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweights sold from 130¢ to 174¢ at prices 2¢ to 12¢/kg less.

The C3 and C4 grown steers and bullocks sold from 130¢ to 176¢ at prices unchanged to 7¢ cheaper, with the heavy C3 sales most affected. This tended to leave most selling from 265¢ to 315¢/kg cwt.

Cow prices tended to remain reasonably stable, with the 3 to 5 score medium and heavy beef cows selling from 108¢ to 128¢, or 215¢ to 250¢/kg cwt. However, 1 and 2 score medium and heavy beef cows sold from 90¢ to 121¢/kg to processors and restockers at generally improved prices.


Cattle Supply Increases

Victorian cattle supply at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS increased 28 per cent week-on-week as the year draws to a close. Bairnsdale supply more than doubled, while Wodonga yarded 51 per cent more cattle.

Camperdown and Colac throughput was 39 per cent and 55 per cent higher respectively, while Leongatha increased by 63 per cent. Pakenham, Shepparton and Warrnambool registered minor upward trends to supply. Ballarat was the only centre to record a decrease.

Quality Varies

Quality was mixed across the majority of saleyards, with good lines of vealers and yearlings penned at Camperdown. The better conditioned lots met improve demand and assisting in some small price rises, while restocker activity lifted at Ballarat.

There were some large numbers of heavy grown steers and bullocks at Shepparton. Lot feeder buyers were in attendance at Wodonga and Pakenham and operated on secondary yearlings. Prices improved for well-bred cows and a number of dairy pens at Warrnambool.

Prices Fluctuate

Medium weight vealer steers were 9¢ higher on 191¢, while heavy weight vealer steers to slaughter increased 3¢ to 184¢/kg. Medium weight vealer steers decreased 7¢ to average 164¢, while heavy weight vealer heifers were 5¢ lower on 161¢/kg. Yearling C3 heavy weight steers were 1¢ higher on 178¢/kg, while heavy weight yearling heifers increased 8¢ to 152¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers lifted 4¢ to 171¢, while heavy weight C3 and C4 grown steers to slaughter gained 2¢ to 7¢ to average 176¢/kg. Bullocks to processors increased 6¢ to 171¢/kg. Heavy weight grown heifers were 9¢ dearer on 159¢/kg. Heavy cows were 3¢ lower on 126¢/kg.

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