Limited Cattle Yardings Lift Prices

AUSTRALIA - As national yardings fell 46% compared with last week, values for young and grown cattle lifted, with the exception of Japan ox. Not all the usual buying contingent was present or active. However, demand was still strong. Supply was mainly affected by the time of year, recent rain and colder temperatures. The truck strike affected Queensland and northern NSW.
calendar icon 1 August 2008
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Meat & Livestock Australia

Cattle supply well down

National yardings at MLA’s NLRS reported centres dramatically reduced 46% compared with last week, while being 5% higher than last year. The main impetus behind the smaller yardings was the national truck strike, recent rain, the colder winter conditions and the closure of some abattoirs for maintenance breaks.

Many producers and agents were obviously uncertain about the impact the truck strike would have and withheld selling stock. The strike has seemed to have a greater affect in Queensland and the northern parts of NSW, while not affecting the southern markets, SA or WA. In Queensland, Mareeba, Moreton, Murgon, Longreach and Silverdale, prime sales were cancelled as was Scone in NSW. At both Toowoomba sales on Monday, less than 160 head were offered, while numbers at Dalby declined 93%. Recent rain has also had an impact on the transport of cattle and many producers may now opt to hold on to stock until spring.

In response to the smaller yardings and quiet export enquiry, some abattoirs are closed for annual maintenance, while many others have reduced the number of working days.

Limited supply lifts cattle prices

National young cattle indicator prices increased further this week. The export grades also realised gains, with the exception of the Japan ox indicator. The main reason behind the dearer prices was very low supply.

The majority of the yardings were dominated by young cattle. Not all buyers were present or active this week, however, the ones that were operating were keen to secure suitable cattle. The quality offered remains plain, with the colder, wintry conditions taking effect. Many pastures are also at or close to their lowest levels. Despite this, there has been some better quality supplementary fed lines brought forward, which continue to attract the strongest competition.

National vealer prices increased 6¢ to 14¢/kg, selling mainly to processors, although restockers were active. Processor rates lifted 11¢ on C2 medium weight vealer steers to average 196¢, while restocker prices ranged between 147¢ and 201¢/kg lwt. Medium weight C2 vealer heifers averaged 190¢ to processors, a lift of 13¢/kg lwt.

Lot feeders and restockers were more active on the light and medium weight C2 yearling steers, while the C3 medium and heavyweights were purchased by the trade. The national yearling steer indicator gained 6¢ on last week to finish Thursday at 200¢/kg lwt. C3 medium weight yearling heifers lifted 6¢ to average 188¢/kg lwt. Lot feeder prices were mixed across the states, however, the national feeder steer indicator increased 3¢ to 181¢/kg lwt. Feeder steer prices were down in Queensland and Victoria this week, while up 2¢ in SA to 180¢/kg lwt.

Limited numbers of grown steers were penned this week. Despite the absence of some export abattoirs, demand was still strong. The national medium steer indicator jumped 12¢ to 183¢/kg lwt, with not enough numbers to quote in Queensland, SA, WA and Tasmania. The small number of Japan ox, however, sold to a cheaper trend as the national indicator fell 1¢ to 187¢/kg lwt. Cow supply was also substantially lower, which resulted in the national cow indicator gaining 7¢ to 139¢/kg lwt. Victoria still remains the strongest, with the cow indicator firm at 147¢/kg lwt.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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