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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

01 March 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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

South Australia

Similar numbers

There have been mixed results for cattle producers with numbers starting to decline, however price rises on some categories may give a glimmer of hope that prices may start to move upwards, write market analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

The SA LE’s marginally larger mixed quality yarding attracted generally stronger demand from the usual trade and export buyers. Feeder orders were more circumspect and only sourced well-bred steers and heifers. The few vealers penned all sold to the trade at improved prices.

Most light and medium weight yearling steers finished with feeders, while the heavy C3 steers were sourced by the trade. Yearling heifer prices improved, while a larger run of beef cows were dearer.

Naracoorte’s smaller yarding was quite mixed on the young cattle with only fresh quality attracting strong competition. However, a very good quality yarding of heavy beef cows attracted improved prices with Charolais heavyweights selling at 136¢/kg.

Mt. Gambier’s slightly smaller yarding attracted strong SA and Victorian trade and export competition at mainly dearer levels, with B-muscled vealer steers to 228¢ and a magnificent pen of B-muscled grown steers selling at 186.5c¢/kg. Bull prices were up to 16¢/kg lower.

Millicent had a slightly larger yarding of mainly young cattle that tended to recoup most of the lower prices paid two week’s ago, as many sales rose by 15¢ to 30¢/kg.

Generally improved prices

It has been a week of generally improved prices as some heavy rainfall in the eastern states starts to tighten supplies.

The B-muscled vealer steers to strong Victorian wholesale competition sold from 180¢ to 228¢ at prices 8¢/kg more. The C-muscled sales were 5¢ to 17¢ dearer selling from 150¢ to 194¢/kg.

Vealer heifers to the trade sold from 145¢ to 207¢ with lightweight C3 sales at the higher end, to be 5¢ to 12¢/kg dearer. Feeder and restocker purchases of C2 lightweight heifers were 9¢ dearer selling from 140¢ to 185¢/kg.

Yearling steer B-muscled sales were from 191¢ to 205¢, with the C3 sales mainly 145¢ to 189¢/kg. This tended to leave those prices averaging 20¢/kg more. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweights attracted prices from 140¢ to 190¢, with the C3 sales 7¢/kg dearer.

Grown steers and bullocks sold between 142¢ and 186.5¢ to be unchanged to 17¢/kg dearer, and mainly 270¢ to 325¢/kg cwt. Grown heifers were 5¢ to 13¢ dearer, with the C-muscled sales 130¢ to 160¢/kg. The 3 to 5 score beef cows sold from 100¢ to 134¢, to be 2¢ to 11¢/kg dearer and mainly in a 200¢ to 240¢/kg cwt price range.

Queensland

Wet weather hinders supply

Wet weather continues to hinder supply at markets on the eastern half of the state, with most centres recording smaller numbers. However with very little rain across central and western districts supply at the Roma store and prime sale increased by 40 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

The return of Longreach into the selling program combined with larger numbers in the west lifted overall supply at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS by 30 per cent.

The overall standard of the young cattle at most markets continues to be mixed with quality tapering off on consignments from the drier western districts of the state.

Quality at Toowoomba was boosted by a fair supply of stock from a local show beef classic exhibits.

The export sections at markets in the south of the state contained some good quality heavy steers and bullocks and most of the cows were in the 3 and 4 score ranges.

Prices lift

Buyer attendance was generally good and despite markets early in the week being conducted under wind driven rain, a larger number of restocker buyers and onlookers were present. Most of the usual export buyers were present across all markets and most were operating.

Prices for young cattle generally improved with extra restocker support and stronger trade competition. A large number of C2 lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock 9¢ dearer at 205¢, and D muscle lines were also well supplied and averaged 179¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling steers to feed mostly sold in the early 180¢ range, while heavy lines averaged 173¢/kg. Average prices for lightweight yearling heifers improved by up to 6¢ with the better lines making into the 170¢/kg range. Medium weight slaughter descriptions averaged 187¢ with some heavyweights from the show exhibits reaching 215.2¢/kg.

Heavy steers averaged 3¢ dearer at 184¢ with supplementary fed lines to 198.2¢/kg. Bullocks sold to a market 2¢ dearer at 185¢ and supplementary fed categories made to 197.2¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 123¢ and 3 scores 132¢/kg. Good heavy cows mostly sold around 150¢ with a couple of outstanding classes making to 171.2¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers continue to ease at most markets

As most areas around the state received some rainfall and with others promised some falls, overall numbers continue to ease on average over the majority of the state. Percentage wise numbers slipped 15 per cent week on week.

Wagga nearly halved in consignments as Forbes and Gunnedah together with Inverell all reported lower numbers. CTLX Carcoar was the exception, however the previous market was greatly reduced.

The northern Casino sale gained in consignments after the previous rain affected market. The Hunter selling complexes also struggled to attract adequate numbers as seasonal conditions improve throughout those areas. The latter Dubbo market defied the trend to increase its numbers week-on-week.

Quality was mixed as the popular breeds improved marginally

Plain cattle continue to enter the market, however most reported an improvement with greater percentages of the popular breeds bought forward for sale. Lot feeder and restockers continue to compete strongly on the suitable pens.

Vealers continue to dominate the northern markets as most reported yearlings and cows are well supplied. Any prime vealer or yearling suitable for butcher and trade orders around all MLA NLRS reported markets sold at a premium.

Due to an improvement in quality and greater confidence in seasonal conditions, coupled with limited supply throughout most categories, markets generally lifted to dearer levels.

Competition overall strengthened

NSW markets reported younger cattle at dearer trends as quality contributed in places, although any lower muscled pens mostly sold at cheaper levels. The heavier export categories generally maintained their firm to slightly dearer prices.

The best of the prime conditioned well-muscled vealers to the butchers still sold into the 230¢/kg range as the estimated 200kg plus steers returning to the paddock lifted 8¢ to average 199¢/kg. Yearling steers sold to stronger competition to improve 2¢ to 4¢ to feeder and restocker orders. The best reached 204¢ with most sales sitting around the 180¢ to 181¢/kg range.

Yearling heifers overall sold to solid price gains. Steers to feeder orders gained 8¢ as heavy weights to slaughter improved 3¢ to 5¢/kg. Cows mainly sold to a dearer trend as restockers continue to compete for the lighter weights. The best to processors reached 156¢ as the overall average for the state sat around 126.5¢/kg.

Victoria

Throughput remains unchanged

Total yardings across the state were relatively unchanged on last week’s levels, despite more cattle being yarded at Bairnsdale, Ballarat, and Camperdown. Both Leongatha and Warrnambool’s numbers were also up by 50 per cent and 42 per cent respectively.

These increases were offset by less cattle flowing through Pakenham, Shepparton and Wodonga. More cattle suitable to feedlot buyers were offered at Pakenham, while good quality bullocks were yarded at Leongatha.

Quality improves

Quality improved across most categories, with the better finished lines selling strongly to feeder and processor demand. Restockers were also well supplied, as secondary lines of yearling steers and heifers were in good numbers.

The usual contingent of buyers were present, assisting in additional price rises, as the shortage of numbers encouraged increased competition at Pakenham, Wodonga and Leongatha.

Prices generally improve

Vealer steers to slaughter were generally 1¢ to 8¢ dearer while restockers were reluctant to purchase suitable lines with prices back from 4¢ to 5¢/kg. Medium weight vealer heifers to slaughter were 8¢ to 9¢ dearer while heavy weights averaged around 175¢, back 4¢/kg.

Feeder buyers paid from 142¢ to 189¢ for yearling steers, while heavy weights sold to processors for around 183¢, up 3¢/kg. Yearling heifers returning to the paddock averaged 176¢ for the better quality lines, while D muscle lines averaged 136¢/kg.

Processors paid from 135¢ to 213¢, up 10¢/kg. The majority of grown steers sold from 145¢ to 190¢/kg with processors competing well for finished lines.

Plain condition medium weight cows averaged 101¢, while dairy cows averaged 90¢, up 9¢/kg on last week. Heavy dairy cows topped at 117¢ to make 104¢, while the well covered beef cows settled on 123¢/kg.

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