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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

25 November 2013
Meat & Livestock Australia

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


Yardings rise

Scattered rainfall in central western regions reduced supply at the Roma store sale, write expert commentators at MLA.

However, the isolated showers across eastern districts had no effect on supply, with numbers at Dalby almost doubling week-on-week. Overall supply at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS lifted 27 per cent .

Young cattle dominated the selling pens to represent 62 per cent of total numbers. A full panel of export processors and feeder operators was present and active at most markets, however only a handful of restocker buyers were present at selling centres in the eastern corner of the state.

Prices move higher

Young lightweight cattle experienced a mixed trend with restockers displaying more enthusiasm at the Roma store sale, however at markets in the East, restockers remain very cautious and in places lightweight yearling steers lost ground in price. A fairly large sample returned to the paddock at 189¢ with the occasional sale at Roma to 216¢/kg.

All classes of medium and heavy weight yearling steers to feed received very strong buying competition. Despite the large numbers penned, feeder operators absorbed the increased supply and lifted average prices by 8¢ to 13¢/kg, add MLA experts. 

Medium weights averaged 189¢ with one consignment of 374 head sold in one lot at 197¢/kg. Heavy weights to feed averaged in the late 180¢ to early 190¢/kg range, with sales to 198¢/kg. The best of the lightweight yearling heifers sold to restockers, feeder operators and the trade to average in the mid to high 150¢/kg range.

Medium weights to feed averaged 9¢ better at 163¢ and sold to 178¢/kg. Heavy weights experienced stronger buying competition from the trade as well as processors to average 180¢, with sales to 196¢/kg.

A relatively small sample of heavy grown steers averaged 4¢ dearer at 189¢ and sold to 190¢, with the occasional supplementary fed class reaching 203¢/kg. Supplementary fed bullocks made to 201¢, with most at 189¢/kg. All classes of cows were in demand and lightweight poor condition lines averaged 91¢ and medium weights 107¢, while the 2 scores mostly sold around 122¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to the occasional 169¢, to average 153¢/kg.

Western Australia

Limited rainfall

There has been some rainfall activity in the far north of WA but substantial falls are yet to be recorded. The Murchison and Gascoyne regions remain very dry and in need of rainfall with hot temperatures throughout the pastoral regions.

Conditions in the southern agricultural districts of WA have remained fine and dry throughout the majority of areas with temperatures remaining warm to hot. The majority of hay production has now been completed with grain harvesting now the major under taking on the majority of properties.

The majority of the districts have now hayed off but there still are parts of the southwest that have retained green pastures. The hot conditions in the north have seen the finish of mustering activity with live exporters having loaded the last boat out of Broome for this year. The strong seasonal conditions in the southern areas remain and agents continue to report that this year’s vealer season will see additional weight.

Lift in saleyard volumes

There was an increase in physical saleyard numbers this week at all three weekly sales, while the southwest will see the first of it’s vealer sales commence mid next week. There were similar supplies of trade and heavy weight steers and heifers with larger supplies of vealers at saleyards this week, while cow volumes remained only moderate.

There was a general increase in the weight of vealers. Demand from the trade, feeder and restocker sectors remained in line with last week’s prices throughout the classes. Trade weight yearling steers and heifer again enjoyed added live export competition with marginal price rises. Heavy weight steers and bullocks recorded slightly higher demand and prices, while cow categories continued to enjoy strengthening demand and competition from the processing sector, with prime heavy weight sales 3¢/kg lwt higher on average.


Numbers lift with more export cattle offered

Numbers through Victorian saleyards lifted 10 per cent this week with the largest increases reported at both Shepparton and Wodonga up 24 per cent and 45 per cent , respectively. Leongatha and Pakenham’s yardings remained steady week-on-week offering 1,600 head and 1,000 head, respectively. These larger markets offset the significant decline at Camperdown and Colac.

Grown steers and bullocks are in good condition

Quality of grown steers and bullocks continues to be good predominately through Wodonga and Pakenham market, with reports suggesting producers are offloading finished lines as northern buyers are travelling south. Quality slipped slightly at Leongatha although a lack of demand was the main driver behind a decline in prices. Fewer buyers were operating at Camperdown and Pakenham while there was a lift in feeder attendance across Wodonga and Shepparton. Restockers are still active at all markets although prices vary due to breed specification.

Prices ease despite good quality cattle available

Prices generally eased this week after a slight lift in supply coupled with a decline in demand. The better quality vealer steers averaged 189¢, while the equivalent heifer lines ranged from 155¢ to 204¢, back 7¢/kg. Heavy yearling steers to feed were relatively unchanged ranging from 145¢ to 170¢, while C3s to slaughter slipped 11¢ on 176¢/kg.

Medium yearling heifers to feed averaged 141¢ while heavy weights to process slipped 4¢ to finish on 158¢/kg. The better quality grown steers generally ranged from 146¢ to 188¢, while the 600kg to 750kg C4 lines averaged 176¢, up 1¢/kg. Medium weight D1 dairy cows ranged from 85¢ to 121¢, while heavy D2 lines topped at 135¢ to average 124¢/kg. Heavy D4 beef cows lifted 2¢ ranging from 122¢ to 149¢/kg.

South Australia

Supply increases

SA cattle supply as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service increased 23 per cent week-on-week, aided by Millicent’s fortnightly sale. Mount Gambier’s yardings slipped 14 per cent , while Naracoorte and the SA livestock Exchange lifted throughput 16 per cent and 34 per cent , respectively.

Quality remains good

Restocker and feeder buyers at the SA Livestock Exchange were more prominent than recent weeks, with yearling steers in higher demand. Feeder and restocker buyers were cautiously active at Mount Gambier, while restockers at Millicent pursued the lighter weight grades. Quality at Naracoorte continues to be good, with those carrying more condition selling at increased prices.

Prices trend lower

Heavy weight vealer steers to slaughter were 2¢ higher on 195¢, while heavy weight vealer heifers lost 6¢ to average 175¢/kg. Heavy weight yearling steers to slaughter decreased 5¢ to settle on 175¢, while heavy weight yearling heifers eased 4¢ to 162¢/kg. Medium weight C2 yearling steers to feeder buyers were 5¢ dearer on 149¢/kg.

Heavy weight C3 grown heifers were 5¢ cheaper on 172¢, while heavy bullocks to slaughter eased 1¢ to average 175¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to slaughter eased 4¢ to settle on 113¢/kg. Heavy weight D3 cows to slaughter ranged in price from 102¢ to 141¢, to be 1¢ averaging 131¢/kg.

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