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Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

31 October 2014

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).

South Australia

Supply lowers

Total SA cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, declined 29 per cent , to 4,404 head, with Millicent’s fortnightly sale not in operation this week. Mount Gambier saw numbers ease 42 per cent , to 2,138 head, while Naracoorte was back 25 per cent , to 1,455 head. The SA Livestock Exchange consigned more than double the amount of cattle compared to the previous sale, penning 811 head.

Quality lines at Naracoorte

Quality was very mixed at the SA Livestock Exchange this week, with trade demand easing and restockers and feeders only cautiously active.

Quality improved at Naracoorte, particularly in the grown cattle section, although there was also a better selection of yearlings penned and prices improved across most categories. Some outstanding vealers came forward at Mount Gambier and the yearling steers also sold well.

Young cattle prices ease

Heavy weight B2 vealer steers were in good numbers and averaged 211¢ to processors, back 4¢, while their heifer equivalents were 14¢ lower on 293¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling steers to slaughter sold 5¢ cheaper and averaged 175¢, while the heifers gained 2¢ to settle on 165¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers were close to firm on 177¢, although the C3 and C4 bullocks slipped as much as 13¢ and averaged 168¢/kg. Good heavy C3 and 4 beef cows ranged from 124¢ to 166¢ to average around 148¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers decline

Cattle consignments decreased by 34 per cent this week at MLA’s NLRS reported markets, to total 21,639 head. Wagga lost 20 per cent , to pen 4,540 head, as Forbes and Tamworth yarded 1,810 and 1,949 head, respectively. CTLX yarded a small total of 760 cattle, with Gunnedah slipping by 36 per cent , for a yarding of 2,560 head.

The Hunter markets of Scone and Singleton trended differently, as Scone yarded much the same, while Singleton lost 21 per cent , for around 780 penned.

The northern market of Armidale slipped 17 per cent , for a total of 711 cattle, while Inverell decreased by 39 per cent , for 1,382 head. Casino sold 1,153 cattle, down 5 per cent , week-on-week, while Dubbo nearly halved its consignments, for a total of 3,990 head.

Quality overall remains mixed

There was a generally plainer quality offered, as the dryer conditions start to affect finish. There were well-finished cattle spread throughout the majority of markets. There was 5,748 younger steers sold, back 32 per cent week-on-week, while younger heifer numbers were down to 5,818 head. Prime-conditioned grown steers suitable for slaughter totalled 508 head and there were 3,826 cows sold, back 38 per cent on the previous sale.

Prices stabilise for younger cattle

The younger cattle sold 2¢ to 3¢/kg either side of firm, as the better finished pens attracted the better of the lot feeder competition. The medium weight vealer steers, returned to the paddock, and averaged 186¢, after reaching 217¢/kg.

The equivalent weighted heifer portion to the processor and restocker orders topped at 198¢, with the majority around the 164¢ to 174¢/kg range. The medium weight yearling steers to the lot feeders slipped 7¢, as the better finished C3 pens lifted 6¢/kg. The heifer portion trended 2¢/kg cheaper through most weight ranges. The well-finished younger cattle to butchers sold close to firm.

Heavy weight grown steers suitable for slaughter lost 2¢ to 10¢/kg. Cows continued the cheaper export trends, as the majority lost around 2¢/kg. The better covered 3 and 4 score cows ranged from 122¢ to 177¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls again sold to strong processor competition, with the well-muscled pens averaging 206¢ after reaching 227¢/kg.

Victoria 

Supplies Back

Victorian cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, was back 28 per cent week-on-week, to total 9,834 head.

With some rain recorded across the state, although sporadic, and as producers react to easing cattle prices, all saleyards, with the exception of Pakenham, yarded fewer cattle this week. Wodonga consigned 2,450 head, back 39 per cent , and Shepparton yarded 1,700 head, down 35 per cent . Numbers at Warrnambool and Leongatha eased 18 per cent and 26 per cent , respectively, at 1,148 head and 798 head, while Bairnsdale more than halved to 263 head.

Reduced processor buyer participation

Quality at Wodonga was quite good; however, not all buyers were in attendance or operating fully. There was a mixed yarding of grass finished yearlings and vealers suitable for trade and local restockers keenly contested over a few secondary lines.

One regular processor buyer was absent at Pakenham and, while there was large portion of good quality calves, the remainder of young cattle were generally of plain condition.

The usual buyers were in attendance at Warrnambool and, while quality was mixed, cows met strong demand, with prices up 5¢/kg across some lines. At Shepparton, top quality grown steers and bullocks were scarce and prices eased. There was one regular processor buyer absent at Leongatha; however, those that did attend participated in a dearer market.

Prices remain firm despite the decline in throughput

After prices eased last week, most categories, supported by reduced supply, held firm and were dearer in places. Vealer steers sold to a dearer trend, with heavy B2 lines averaging 210¢, while the heifer portion sold to a mixed trend, with heavy B2 lines averaging 193¢, back 17¢, and heavy C3 lines averaging 195¢, up 9¢/kg.

Yearlings averaged either side of firm. Medium C2 yearling steers were back 2¢, averaging 180¢, while heavy C3 lines were unchanged on 186¢/kg. Medium C3 yearling heifers to slaughter were firm on 165¢, while heavy C3 lines averaged 166¢/kg.

With some saleyards reporting reduced processor buyer attendance, grown steer and bullock prices eased, with heavy C3 grown steers averaging 176¢, back 6¢, and C4 bullocks on 180¢, back 3¢/kg. Grown heifer lines also eased, with light C4’s back 4¢ on 162¢/kg.

However, some lines experienced a dearer trend, with medium C4 grown heifers averaging 164¢, up 6¢/kg. Manufacturing steers mostly sold 4¢ either side of firm, with heavy D2 dairy steers averaging 158¢, up 4¢/kg. Cows sold to a dearer trend, especially amongst heavy lines. Heavy D2’s averaged 140¢, up 2¢, and D4 lines averaged 155¢, up 8¢/kg.

Queensland

Supplies Back

Victorian cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, was back 28 per cent week-on-week, to total 9,834 head.

With some rain recorded across the state, although sporadic, and as producers react to easing cattle prices, all saleyards, with the exception of Pakenham, yarded fewer cattle this week.

Wodonga consigned 2,450 head, back 39 per cent , and Shepparton yarded 1,700 head, down 35 per cent . Numbers at Warrnambool and Leongatha eased 18 per cent and 26 per cent , respectively, at 1,148 head and 798 head, while Bairnsdale more than halved to 263 head.

Reduced processor buyer participation

Quality at Wodonga was quite good; however, not all buyers were in attendance or operating fully. There was a mixed yarding of grass finished yearlings and vealers suitable for trade and local restockers keenly contested over a few secondary lines.

One regular processor buyer was absent at Pakenham and, while there was large portion of good quality calves, the remainder of young cattle were generally of plain condition.

The usual buyers were in attendance at Warrnambool and, while quality was mixed, cows met strong demand, with prices up 5¢/kg across some lines. At Shepparton, top quality grown steers and bullocks were scarce and prices eased. There was one regular processor buyer absent at Leongatha; however, those that did attend participated in a dearer market.

Prices remain firm despite the decline in throughput

After prices eased last week, most categories, supported by reduced supply, held firm and were dearer in places. Vealer steers sold to a dearer trend, with heavy B2 lines averaging 210¢, while the heifer portion sold to a mixed trend, with heavy B2 lines averaging 193¢, back 17¢, and heavy C3 lines averaging 195¢, up 9¢/kg.

Yearlings averaged either side of firm. Medium C2 yearling steers were back 2¢, averaging 180¢, while heavy C3 lines were unchanged on 186¢/kg. Medium C3 yearling heifers to slaughter were firm on 165¢, while heavy C3 lines averaged 166¢/kg.

With some saleyards reporting reduced processor buyer attendance, grown steer and bullock prices eased, with heavy C3 grown steers averaging 176¢, back 6¢, and C4 bullocks on 180¢, back 3¢/kg. Grown heifer lines also eased, with light C4’s back 4¢ on 162¢/kg. However, some lines experienced a dearer trend, with medium C4 grown heifers averaging 164¢, up 6¢/kg.

Manufacturing steers mostly sold 4¢ either side of firm, with heavy D2 dairy steers averaging 158¢, up 4¢/kg. Cows sold to a dearer trend, especially amongst heavy lines. Heavy D2’s averaged 140¢, up 2¢, and D4 lines averaged 155¢, up 8¢/kg.

Western Australia

Consignments increase as quality declines

Pastoral cattle numbers remained strong at Muchea with numbers above 3,300 head, including 165 calves. Local cattle numbers across the southern yarding’s also increased slightly totalling 1,900 head. Pastoral bull, cow and heifer supplies dominated at Muchea and store young cattle made up the bulk of southern sales.

Quality of the pastoral supply slipped slightly with a significant percentage being plain and lighter weight drafts. Southern yardings of young cattle quality was good, while prime trade drafts were in moderate supply across the state.

Prices remained strong for most young local categories at all markets, however plain pastoral cattle at Muchea dropped, driven by quality and increased supply.

Prime conditioned lines sell strongly

Prime trade cattle remained firm in price with well finished yearling steers making 224¢ to 250¢, while the better quality heifers sold between 200¢ and 230¢/kg. Pastoral yearling cattle to the trade sold at similar prices as steers made from 185¢ to 209¢, with pastoral heifers from 160¢ to 195¢/kg.

Grown pastoral steer and heifer prices decreased on last week’s strong prices. Steers ranged from 160¢ to 206¢, while heifers fell 10¢ with best sales to 195¢, however the majority sold from 120¢ to 145¢/kg.

Local grown steers remained firm at 160¢ to 229¢, while heifers eased 10¢ and sold between 150¢ and 206¢/kg. Local store steer prices remained strong with light weight lines up 10¢ on last week to average 250¢/kg. Medium and heavy weights lifted 3¢ selling between 200¢ and 260¢/kg.

Pastoral steer drafts were steady making 165¢ to 209c, while heifers continued to be off loaded and prices fell 10¢, with most sales between 110¢ and 140¢/kg. Reasonable supplies of local heifers were mixed in price with light weight sales equal and lifting by 7¢/kg for medium weight drafts. Heavy heifers slipped marginally making 193¢ to 225c/kg.

Export demand still strong

Cow prices were similar across the majority markets. Heavy D3, D4 and better medium weight cows, sold between 150¢ and 174c/kg, back marginally week-on-week. The D2 cows were generally 3¢ cheaper with prices ranging between 120¢ and 163¢/kg.

Bull prices remained strong with heavy bulls making 120¢ to 187c/kg. Bulls ranging from 275-450kg gained 10¢, supported by live export interest, and they sold from 150¢ to 210¢/kg. Light weight bulls were also dearer with most sales between 165¢ and 228¢/kg.

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