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MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary

11 April 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

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).

Western Australia

Supply lifts marginally

Light to moderate falls were recorded in the southern agricultural districts of WA, with the autumn outlook for the state quite promising. Total supply at MLA’s NLRS reported markets lifted 4 per cent week-on-week, to total 2,800 head. The Great Southern sale gained 16 per cent , as no sale will be held next week due to the Easter break, with 1,550 head penned. Muchea, however, yarded 7 per cent fewer cattle for 1,250 head.

Live export demand solid

Quality was very plain at Muchea this week, with pastoral cattle again dominating the yarding. Trade and heavy weight steers remained in limited supply, although young, plainer grades were plentiful at the Great Southern sale. Demand from live export and feeder buyers was solid at both weekly markets, as they competed strongly on the very young drafts and drove prices higher. Cow and bull supplies were moderate and processors were keen to secure adequate numbers, with most prices improving as a result.

Feeder competition lifts prices

Live export buyers purchased medium and heavy weight vealer steers from 224¢ to 240¢/kg. Light and medium C muscled yearling steers sold to feeder buyers 8¢ to 28¢ dearer, averaging in the high 220¢/kg range. Pastoral yearling heifers generally met cheaper trends, while those to feeder buyers lifting in price. Medium weight C2 heifers to feeders averaged 221¢, while the D2 heifers returned 203¢/kg.

Light weight pastoral bred grown steers averaged 142¢/kg, easing slightly, while a small sample of pastoral heifers experience a significant increase in price. Pastoral cows were dearer across all weights and grades, while those to restockers eased 24¢ to 28¢/kg. Live export buyers purchased light bulls 10¢ to 27¢ dearer week-on-week, with average prices settling around 208.5¢/kg.

New South Wales

Consignments continue to increase

The dearer price trends, coupled with some markets cancelled next week due to the Easter break, caused numbers to lift 27 per cent week-on-week at MLA’s NLRS reported markets.

Useful follow-up rainfall around the Wagga supply area kept its numbers on the small side, however still lifted 16 per cent for a total of 2,750 head. Forbes lifted 35 per cent and Tamworth gained 12 per cent , while CTLX lifted 31 per cent to yard 2,292, in total.

Gunnedah nearly doubled its numbers, albeit from a low base the previous week. The Hunter markets trended differently, as Scone slipped 19 per cent , while Singleton lifted 25 per cent for 1,000 head, however this market is affected by the Easter break next week.

The northern markets of Casino, Armidale and Inverell all trended higher, as Inverell gained 45 per cent , while Casino nearly doubled and Armidale lifted 31 per cent week-on-week. Dubbo also affected by the Easter break, lifted its consignments by 16 per cent to pen 3,300 cattle.

Quality remains mixed

The majority of markets reported mixed quality cattle, as numbers of prime conditioned pens were also offered. There were the usual high percentages of unfinished cattle suitable for the restockers and lot feeders also penned. The younger steers totalled 5,773, up 22 per cent week-on-week, as the heifer portion also lifted in number, to offer 4,876 head. Grown steers remained limited in number, as percentages are consigned direct to works. Cow numbers lifted by 36 per cent for a yarding of 4,728 in total.

Competition remains strong

The continuing rainfall and improved seasonal conditions again caused competition to strengthen across all categories. The younger vealer steers returning to the paddock lifted on average 4¢ to 6¢, as the similar weighted heifer portion gained 10¢/kg.

Prime conditioned vealers to the butchers also trended dearer, as prices reached 239¢/kg. Yearling steers to the lot feeders gained 4¢, as the medium weights averaged 198¢ after topping at 217¢/kg.

The equivalent weight heifer portion gained 10¢, as yearlings suitable for the trade and butcher sold to strong competition. Heavy weight grown steers to slaughter sold 3¢ either side of firm, as younger pens topped at 211¢/kg.

Cows continued to lift, as prices gained another 3¢ to 7¢/kg. The plainer D2 cows averaged 125¢, as the better covered 3 and 4 scores ranged from 115¢ to 168¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls trended dearer, as the best reached 198¢/kg.


Numbers swell following rain

Overall supply jumped significantly this week at MLA’s NLRS reported markets, as the ground dries out following the recent falls of rain and the higher prices attract greater numbers. Supply at Dalby more than doubled week-on-week, for 4,148 head penned, while Roma store increased threefold, lifting to 5,600 head.

Both the Toowoomba Elders and Toowoomba Landmark sales yarded significantly larger numbers, with 607 head and 500 head penned, respectively. Warwick’s supply was 45 per cent higher on the previous week, at 1,575 head, while Roma prime consigned 74 per cent more cattle.

Feeders active on quality yearling heifers

While restocker presence was greater at Roma store, less restocker activity was noted at Toowoomba Landmark and Dalby this week. As a result of erratic competition on the lightweight yearlings, Dalby recorded a wide variation in price, with some sales back to pre-rain levels. The better quality yearling heifers received strong support this week, particularly at the Toowoomba Elders and Roma store sales, with several Queensland feedlots operating keenly on medium weights.

Heavy grown steers and bullocks were in short supply and sold to solid demand from export processors at Toowoomba and Roma prime, with prices lifting according to quality. Processors were generally active across all categories of cows.

Better quality lines meet firm to dearer trends

A fair sample of 80kg plus calves to restockers averaged 10¢ dearer on 172.6¢, while medium C2 vealer heifers to slaughter eased 3¢ to 152¢/kg. A large supply of light C2 yearling steers returned to the paddock 1¢ dearer on 188.5¢/kg, while feeders buyers paid from 4¢ to 10¢ more for medium and heavy weight C2 lines, which averaged 188¢/kg.

Poorer quality light weight yearling heifers were 5¢ to 9¢ cheaper and prices ranged from 68.2¢ to 143.2¢, although the average was around 140¢/kg. Medium C2 and 3 lines, on the other hand, attracted solid support from feeder operators and were firm to 13¢ dearer, with prices averaging in the mid-160¢/kg range.

Medium grown steers to feeders improved 15¢ to 25¢ and averaged from 165¢ to 174¢/kg. Heavy grown steers to export processors were up to 9¢ better on average and reached a top price of 195.2¢, while the C4 bullocks slipped 5¢ to average 182.4¢/kg. Medium D3 beef cows to slaughter averaged 132.8¢, up 7¢, while heavy D4 lines were at 155.4¢, up 2¢/kg.


Cattle yardings rise

Victorian cattle yardings as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service increased 31 per cent week-on-week, to 17,760 head, as promising prices helped lift turnoff. Bairnsdale supply was 33 per cent higher on 1,327 head, while Ballarat and Wodonga eased there yardings to 406 head and 3,085 head, respectively.

Throughput at Camperdown more than doubled to yard 1,780 head, while Shepparton supply (2,100 head) gained 50 per cent . Leongatha and Pakenham both increased their turnoff, while throughput at Warrnambool gained 66 per cent , to total 2,430 head.

Lower quality fails to deter buyers

Buyers competed strongly across all markets this week as the shorter trading weeks approach. Overall quality was plainer across Gippsland markets, however demand failed to waver. Lower quality at Shepparton failed to deter processors from capturing adequate numbers, while at Wodonga there was an excellent selection of supplementary fed yearlings and heavy weight grown steers.

Prices improve

Heavy weight vealer steers to slaughter were 4¢ higher on 196.6¢, while the C3 portion was 1¢ dearer on 215.6¢/kg. Medium weight C2 vealer heifers were 4¢ higher on 183.7¢, while heavy weight vealer heifers to slaughter gained 6¢ to average 192.4¢/kg.

Light weight C2 yearling steers to restocker were 14¢ dearer on 187.2¢, while medium weight C2 yearling steers to feeder buyers were 16¢ higher on 192.7¢/kg. Heavy weight C2 yearling steers to feed gained 13¢ to 194.9¢, while C3 and C4 heavy weights to slaughter were both 8¢ dearer to average from 207¢ to 213.2¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling heifers to feed increased 9¢ to 176.9¢, while the D3 lines to slaughter were 10¢ higher on 177¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 yearling heifers to slaughter improved 8¢ to 195.6¢, while the D3’s were 4¢ dearer on 184.8¢/kg.

Medium weight C2 grown steers to slaughter improved 10¢ to 186¢, while C3 and C4 lines sold higher to range from 204¢ to 207.5¢/kg. The C4 bullocks to slaughter were 7¢ dearer on 207¢, while the D3 portion gained 5¢ to 201¢/kg. Medium weight D1 dairy cows eased 1¢ to 122¢, while the D3’s to slaughter gained 7¢ to 148.4¢/kg. Heavy weight D1 and D2 dairy cows were 4¢ higher to range in price from 133¢ to 161¢/kg. Heavy weight D3 and D4 cows to slaughter increased 4¢ to range from 155¢ to 161¢/kg.

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