Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia
calendar icon 27 February 2009
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia


Increase in supply

The wet conditions across the north of the state is still restricting the movement of stock. However with the returned to fine weather in the south of the state the supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS lifted 25%. Markets early in the week only experienced a small lift in supply nevertheless by midweek at Dalby numbers climbed 35%.

The generally good season being experienced in most of the supply areas at present is resulting in a lift in quality. This trend is most noticeable in the grown cattle sections with the vast majority of the cows in the 3 and 4 score ranges and most heavy weights. The consignments of steers and bullocks coming forward are also in the 4 score range with most in the higher end of the weight range.

The stronger demand for export grades experienced the previous week continued, and despite the larger supply of cows values for heavy grades were able to maintain the previous weeks improved rates. While increased competition from restockers against processors on the small samples of plain condition grades of cows values generally improved for the lower score ranges. Steers and bullocks received a strong inquiry particularly the very heavy certified grainfed descriptions.

With good pasture growth restockers are active in the market and calves experienced a lift in value for the small samples available and this trend flowed onto the slaughter categories. Both feeder classes of yearling steers and slaughter grades of yearling heifers attracted stronger demand with improvements of 4¢ to 9¢/kg fairly common.

Prices firm to dearer

Calves to the trade averaged 184¢ and sold to 195.2¢, while restocker grades made to a top of 215.2¢/kg. Vealer steers to restockers averaged 199¢ and sold to 205.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade averaged 5¢ better at 170¢ with a small sample of heavy weights to local butchers reaching 204.2¢. The occasional B muscle grade topped at 210.2¢/kg. A large number of medium weight yearling steers sold to feeder operators 4¢ dearer at 170¢ with sales to 178.2¢/kg. Trade descriptions made to190¢ with most 3¢ better at close to 165¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to the trade improved 9¢ with the larger supply averaging 162¢ with isolated sales to 192¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed averaged 4¢ dearer at 164¢ with some to 171.2¢/kg. Heavy steers to export slaughter mostly sold around 166¢, while the bullock portion averaged close to a similar amount and made to 178.2¢/kg. Heavy certified grainfed bullocks made to a top of 178.2¢ with most close to 170¢/kg. Medium weight 3 score cows averaged 130¢ and made to 138.6¢/kg. A large sample of good heavy cows remained very solid at an average 139¢ with sales to 148.2¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers return

After the rain reduced yardings of last week and the resulting dearer prices, all centres rebounded with total throughput climbing over 50%. The biggest gains occurred in the North West where Gunnedah and Inverell almost doubled. Other large increases were realised at Casino, CTLX Carcoar and Tamworth. Interestingly though when compared to the corresponding time last year, throughput was down over 20%.

There has been a wide variation in quality with the poor condition pens in some cases out numbering the properly finished lots. As a result feeders and restockers were well catered for and were active on suitable lots. At some centres, extra restocker orders were providing additional competition. All the regular domestic and export processors were also in attendance with a southern processor keen to capture adequate numbers of grown steers at Wagga.

A slightly reduced percentage of young cattle were offered but they still dominated to account for 55% of the states total yarding. Yearlings represented 59% of the young cattle with vealer supplies increased on last week. Cows dominated the grown cattle and continued to be the single biggest category offered.

Prices were firm to dearer again for some grades, although there were a number of categories that were not able to maintain the improved levels that were achieved last week. Buyers appeared to be more selective in their purchases as they had much greater numbers to choose from. Direct to works rates were generally firm from the majority of contributors. There were a couple who did lift their rates just to maintain supplies and this had a positive impact on overall rates.

Mixed price trend

Restockers secured all the light calves to a top of 222c with most heavy weights returning to the paddock ranging from 168¢ to 181¢/kg. Medium weight vealer steers in large numbers to processors and restockers lifted 2¢ to 5¢ to sell in the mid 180¢/kg range. The light vealer heifers to slaughter eased 2¢ to 181¢/kg. Over half of the vealer heifers were medium weight C2s, which were purchased by processors at 178¢ to be 2¢/kg dearer. A single heavy B3 topped at 211¢/kg. Light and medium weight yearling steers improved 1¢ to 6¢ to range generally from 165¢ to 171¢/kg. Medium and heavy weight C3s to slaughter remained firm to slightly dearer making from 164¢ to 168.5¢/kg. Feeders paid around 165¢/kg for medium weight yearling steers. Light restocker and slaughter yearling heifers were close to firm around 148¢/kg. Medium weighs C3s to the trade sold to 202¢ to average 156¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feeders lifted 2¢ to 160¢ as processors paid around 149¢/kg. Heavy steers made to 175.2¢ with most sales closer to 155¢ to 159¢/kg. Large numbers of medium weight D2 and D3 cows lost 2¢ and ranged from 116¢ to 126¢/kg. The top heavy cow reached 147¢ with the D4s making closer to 103¢/kg.

South Australia

Increased Numbers

The SA LE had a much smaller yarding that generally lacked quality, but sold to strong competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. Feeder orders were active and sourced lightweight yearling steers and heifers due to so few vealers being offered. The pastoral bred cattle contained small runs of yearlings, a few grown steers along with some light and heavy bulls that all finished with the trade. The dearer prices for cows being paid last week both interstate and in the South East flowed into SA LE’s sale as most attracted dearer rates.

It makes you wonder just when cow numbers will tighten after 970 were sold at Mt. Gambier last week, 762 penned this week, together with another 703 at Naracoorte on Tuesday.

Naracoorte yarding lifted by around 20%, and while quality improved it still remained quite mixed. There was strong trade and processor competition from the usual buying fraternity at mainly dearer levels over all categories. Most vealer steers were C muscled with all sales below 180¢/kg, and only some feeder prices slightly cheaper. The cow runs also contained a few pens of 1 and 2 score pastoral bred cows that sold well for their quality, with a South Eastern processor the main buyer.

Mt. Gambier’s larger yarding sold to solid competition even though one Victorian and a NSW buyer were onlookers on the grown steers and bullocks. Most categories were dearer, the only exception being cows that were cheaper. Millicent also offered a larger yarding.

Young cattle dearer

There were contrasting trends as young cattle generally attracted dearer rates, while easing on most export categories. Vealer steers sourced by the trade ranged from 156¢ to 195¢ with lightweights at the higher end, at rates 1¢ to 12¢/kg more. Feeders and restockers purchased a wide range of quality between 121¢ and 170¢, or from 5¢/kg either side of firm. Vealer heifer sales were erratic even though most attracted rates 4¢ to 10¢ dearer, as the trade secured the majority between 140¢ and 184¢/kg. Yearling steers remained basically unchanged as most sales ranged between 150¢ and 180¢/kg. Yearling heifer sales were unchanged to 6¢ dearer to the trade with most C muscled purchases between 140¢ and 168¢, and D muscled sales generally below 140¢/kg.

Despite the lack of competition at Mt. Gambier for grown steers, C3 medium weights were up to 6¢ dearer, while C4 heavyweights were 2¢/kg cheaper as most steers attracted prices between 152¢ and 168¢/kg, or around 285¢/kg cwt average. Cow prices were an enigma with early sales dearer, while retreating from Wednesday, or 1¢ to 5¢ either side of unchanged. This led to most selling below 134¢ with carcase weight prices mainly between 235¢ and 260¢/kg.


Supply increases

Higher price are one of the best draw cards for producers to offload and this was evident by the large increase in supply of both young and grown cattle at several MLA’s NLRS reported markets. There were increased prices late last week and overall supply increased 20%. There is a long weekend looming, which may affect supply over the next two weeks.

While young cattle, particularly vealers, still enjoyed firm to higher prices, a lot of other cattle prices were firm to cheaper. Processor support for young cattle remained strong, particularly on the B and C muscle grades, which was assisted by better competition from lot feeders and restockers. This aided a lift in the EYCI, which was 6.50¢ higher at 314¢/kg cwt at the conclusion of Thursdays markets. The other eastern states indicators were more mixed with young cattle dearer while grown cattle were slightly cheaper.

There was a general trend for quality to have shifted to greater numbers of plainer condition cattle to be offered. There were however, a large percentage of the Gippsland markets which offered all of the regular buyers a good supply of quality B and C muscle vealers and yearlings, as well as prime grown steers and cows.

As the vealers season is nearly finished, a larger number of good quality beef cows were sold. Adding to this was the large penning of empty cows sold at Bairnsdale with vendors at the upcoming mountain cattle weaner sales already weaning calves. Cow competition at Shepparton was erratic while Warrnambool was generally slightly cheaper. Bulls overall were not able to maintain last weeks large gains.

Varied prices

There would have been some pleased producers as good quality vealers made from 175¢ to 200¢/kg. Lot feeders seemed keen to secure lines of cattle that were varied in weight, quality and sex. Most cattle purchased for feeding made between 148¢ and 175¢/kg. There were also some well bred lines of feeder steers making from 163¢ to 175¢/kg. There has certainly been an increase in demand for cattle suited to NSW wholesalers. This assisted medium weight yearling steers to lift 5¢ to 167¢ as heavy weights gained 3¢ to 162¢/kg. Yearling heifers also realised similar gains with medium weights selling closer to 156¢/kg.

Grown steer and bullock supplies increased and most sold close to firm. Heavy 4 scores averaged 155¢ whole ever the 3 scores sold closer to 158¢/kg. The good bullocks generally sold in the mid 150¢/kg range. The heavy bullocks averaged 147¢/kg. Cow prices varied greatly with a lot of beef cows making between 120¢ and 135¢ with the very best to 149¢/kg. Better quality 2 score cows made from 110¢ to 128¢, while the lean 1 score cows made mostly between 70¢ and 120¢/kg. The carcass weight price average was 252¢/kg cwt.

West Australia

Vealer season all but over

The north remains wet with further light follow up rainfall recorded after the heavy recordings of the previous week in the Pilbara and Murchison regions. The southern agricultural districts enjoyed a considerably milder week of temperatures after the heat of last week as a cold front crossed the coast bringing cooler temperatures and some light rainfall. The heaviest falls were recorded in southern and south coastal regions south of Perth with in land regions receiving only limited falls. The affect of this rain will have little or no effect, either positive or negative on feed or germination rates.

Early calving continues in southern regions, while a continued fall in pasture feed levels has further increased the need for supplementary feeding. The industry in WA remains cautious as the media continue to report of further restructuring in the State’s major export works with the threat of industrial action now being widely speculated, which has added further consternation to people’s thinking.

Cattle numbers were lower with agents announcing that this was the last of the two day sales format in the Great Southern. The majority of cattle were again sourced from local agricultural districts with pastoral drafts continuing to remain in limited supply.

Quality at all major markets was very mixed with a considerable drop off in the weight and condition recorded in vealer grades. Heavy weight steer and heifer supplies remained tight, while the reduced trade competition and subsequent lower market values at the Great Southern sale last week impacted this week’s trade sale numbers.

Cow demand remains quiet

There was a decline in heavy vealers in excess of 330kg yarded at any of the yards. The reduction in weight was also accompanied by plainer condition across the weight classes. This however failed to deter either feeder or restocker demand with many in industry predicting that numbers will tighten sharply in the very near future. This is expected to last until spring with winter supplies expected to be low. Subsequently the majority of classes in both steers and heifers recorded dearer values in comparison to last week with medium weight steers and heavy weight vealer heifers realising the larger price rises. There remained a reasonable quality in grass finished trade weight yearling steers. The market rose in excess of 5¢/kg predominately due to an increase in live export demand and competition at Midland early in the week. These dearer steer rates then impacted trade weight heifer values with classes also finishing at higher values.

The limited supplies of both heavy weight steers and bullocks failed to create any further increase in trade demand as prices remained firm. Heavy weight cow supplies slipped but despite this weaker processor demand created further slight falls in prices.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.