- news, features, articles and disease information for the cattle industry


MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

11 October 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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


Numbers back slightly after long weekend break

Total consignments across MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) reported markets eased marginally by 3 per cent despite the long weekend holiday which saw Toowoomba not operate this week, write market analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

The decline was offset by an 8 per cent increase at Dalby with close to 5,300 yarded, while consignments at Roma store totalled 5,500, up 2 per cent . A larger yarding of young cattle at Warwick saw numbers jump 37 per cent to yard close to 1,300 head, while Roma prime lifted 16 per cent week-on-week. There were limited numbers of grown cattle at Warwick, while young cattle have continued to dominate the majority of selling centres.

Dry, hot weather affects quality

Plain quality cattle are being offloaded across all selling centres as the dry weather is taking its toll on most categories, consequently prices fluctuated in relation to the finish on most lines. Despite the slip in quality at Roma store, an extra restocker buyer assisted in prices holding firm for light weight lines. Heavy grown steers and cows at Warwick were slightly dearer on the back of a reduced numbers, while good quality heavy cows at Dalby sold strong, while plain conditioned lines sold well to increased restocker interest.

Young cattle struggle while export lines improve

As numbers declined, prices failed to improve significantly, on the back of plain quality. Medium weight vealer steers to restock ranged from 150¢ to 190¢, while vealer heifers to slaughter eased 10¢ on average making 151¢/kg. A good contingent of yearling steers were offered across most markets as restockers paid from 145¢ to 184¢ for the better conditioned lines, back 8¢, while unfinished lines were steady averaging 144¢/kg.

Medium weights to feed eased 2¢, ranging from 125¢ to 181¢, while to restock, prices slipped 8¢ week-on-week to average 157¢/kg. Heavy steer to feed topped at 174¢ to settle on 163¢, back 9¢/kg. Plain yearling heifers were firm to slightly cheaper for secondary lines, while medium weights lifted 12¢ to processors averaging 167¢/kg.

The grown steer portion was generally stronger with the majority of the 500kg to 600kg C4 lines ranging from 160¢ to 188¢, while the good quality bullocks averaged 181¢, up 4¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to process averaged 102¢, up 2¢, while D3 lines topped at 138¢ to finish on 123¢/kg.

Western Australia

Further rain aids pastures but hampers hay production

Conditions in the far north have warmed up, with little or no rain again recorded throughout the majority of the pastoral regions, while the Gascoyne area remains dry and in need of rainfall. Conditions in the southwest remain very strong, with further rainfall recorded over the past seven days providing further longevity to the growing period.

This added moisture has complicated hay making activity, however, with many producers reporting that conditions are too wet to be mowing, while others that have begun have had their hay downgraded by the rainfall. Pasture growth and levels are both very high and will only be aided by a forecast week of fine and dry weather. The strong feed conditions this year have seen very high growth levels in this year’s drop of calves and agents have reported that there will be a solid increase in turnoff levels this season.

Similar yardings

Physical saleyard numbers were similar this week, despite Muchea seeing a reasonable fall in its numbers, while Great Southern and south western yarding’s were both larger. This is perhaps indicative that the spring turnoff will soon spike. Processors continue to report solid booking levels on a direct-to-works basis, despite being in the transitional period between northern and southern cattle kills.

The supplies of both trade and heavy weight steers and heifers remained moderate at all three sales. Pastoral cattle numbers were lower at Muchea due to a solid fall in light weight bulls, while the numbers of locally bred store yearlings remained moderate. Vealer supplies were again limited, with cow yardings solid. Export steers, heifers and cows all experienced an increase in processor competition that created higher prices across all three categories. Local trade demand for trade weight yearlings remained fair, while feeder and restocker interest in store grades was maintained, but again very quality and weight specific.


Supply increases

Total Victorian yardings at MLA’s NLRS reported markets lifted 21 per cent this week to total 11,850 head. Bairnsdale increased throughput 11 per cent , while Warrnambool recorded 7 per cent higher supply. Numbers at Leongatha and Camperdown were up 15 per cent and 16 per cent , respectively, while Pakenham lifted 24 per cent week-on-week.

The two largest sales this week, Shepparton and Wodonga, were responsible for much of the increase, with yardings up by 73 per cent and 17 per cent , respectively. Ballarat’s supply was close to firm and Colac was the only centre to see throughput ease, back 52 per cent to yard only 172 head.

Larger numbers of plainer drafts offered

Processors and feeders operated keenly at Ballarat for an average to good quality yarding. At Camperdown, however, competition weakened, with the poor to average quality a major factor in buyers not operating fully. Larger numbers of well finished Friesian bullocks sold to strong northern demand at Wodonga.

At Pakenham young cattle sale a greater number were purchased by feeder buyers week-on-week, although this was due to increased percentages of suitable cattle for feedlots being penned rather than a lift in demand, with prices slightly easier. A greater proportion of cattle were of plainer quality at Shepparton, with the majority of trade and export drafts experiencing cheaper trends.

Prices slip

Heavy weight B2 vealer steers to processors sold to an average price of 198.9¢, slipping 11¢ week-on-week, while C3 lines settled on 195.3¢ to be back 8¢/kg. Medium weight C3 yearling steers to the trade were back 17¢ on 184.9¢, and heavy C3 and C4 drafts lost from 4¢ to 6¢ with prices averaging around 190.9¢/kg. In the yearling heifer portion, medium C3 lines were back 21¢ to 156.7¢, with the heavy weights back 5¢ on 168.7¢/kg.

A large selection of medium weight C3 grown steers made to an average price of 185.4¢, easing 6¢, while heavy C4 steers averaged 184.6¢, back 4¢/kg. The heavy C3 and 4 heifers lost from 4¢ to 6¢ and averaged 190.9¢/kg. Heavy D1 and D2 dairy cows slipped 2¢ to 3¢, with D3 and 4 beef cows also back 2¢ to 3¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers ease due to short trading week

Throughput across the state varied, although increases at some major selling centres did little to offset the absence of Tamworth, Wagga and Forbes due to the Monday public holiday. Numbers at Armidale nearly doubled on last week, while Casino yarded 15 per cent fewer lines. A lift of 33 per cent was recorded at CTLX Carcoar, while consignments at Dubbo were relatively similar to last week, with close to 5,700 head yarded. Gunnedah and Inverell both yarded 25 per cent and 28 per cent more cattle, respectively. Good numbers of yearlings were offered through Scone, CTLX and Gunnedah, with export lines in good condition reportedly becoming harder to source.

Quality lines decline as plain young cattle dominate

Good quality cattle are dwindling across markets, although good runs of European cross yearlings attracted strong competition at Finley. Good lines of grown steers and heifers at Armidale sold well due to most coming off crop, while prices varied at most markets due to a wide range of quality lines. The usual buyers were operating across almost all markets, although restockers were hesitant at Armidale due to the increase in numbers. One processor was absent at CTLX, while increased competition was apparent at Scone on the limited number of well finished bullocks and cows.

Young cattle prices continue to struggle

Young cattle prices generally retreated, with medium weight vealer steers to restock slipping 4¢ week-on-week and averaging 164¢, while light weight vealer heifers in plain condition ranged from 90¢ to 130¢/kg.

Medium weight C2 lines to slaughter topped at 185¢ to average 5¢/kg cheaper. Light yearling steers to restock and feed declined 4¢ on last week, averaging 159¢ and 169¢/kg, respectively.

Medium weights to feed ranged from 140¢ to 198¢, while those to process were steady and averaged 186¢/kg. Heavy weights process averaged 185¢, back 1¢/kg. Light yearling heifers to feed and process lifted 3¢ to 4¢, averaging 148¢ and 142¢/kg, respectively. Medium weight heifers to slaughter averaged 164¢, back 3¢/kg on last week.

The 500kg to 600kg C4 grown steers topped at 203¢ to average 2¢ dearer on 191¢/kg. Light C3 grown heifers to process were unchanged, averaging 154¢, while heavy weights sold from 147¢ to 179¢/kg for the better quality lines. Medium weight D2 cows topped at 134¢ to settle on 115¢, while D3 lines ranged from 107¢ to 144¢/kg across the state.

TheCattleSite News Desk

Our Sponsors


Seasonal Picks

Charismatic Cows and Beefcake Bulls