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 10 July 2009
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Supply steady

The supply of cattle remained steady at MLA’s NLRS reported physical markets, but the quality was very mixed. There was near equal numbers of better quality and plainer condition cattle penned, although the composition of the different sales varied across the state.

Especially noticed was a much smaller market at Bairnsdale, where the continual sell off because of the drought reduced supply further, and the poor season continues to affect the quality. The supply of cattle at all of the major markets reported by MLA’s NLRS was steady with only slight variations either way. These markets supplied most of the good quality cattle, both young and grown cattle, although some good quality and good prices were seen at Colac on Thursday.

Price trends varied throughout the week, partly due to quality changes, however, there was one major export processor absent from most sales, as they negotiate a new work base agreement. This encouraged a cheaper trend for bullock and cows, as there was less competition causing prices to ease 3¢ to 12¢ for bullocks, and up to 10¢/kg for cows.

While most of the young cattle sold firm to slightly lower, some of the best quality vealers and yearlings were cheaper. Competition from lot feeder helped to keep vealer and yearling prices from falling further.

Increased demand from overseas for 95CL grinding beef created a lift in bull prices. At times prices were as much as 16¢/kg higher at physical markets.

Most direct to works rates were unchanged this week, with the exception of heavy yearling steers. Bullocks suited to the Japanese trade experienced a lift in rates, however manufacturing lines eased.

Prices ease

Top quality B muscle vealers and supplementary fed yearlings sold to less competition and weaker demand at Pakenham, which saw a 7¢/kg reduction in price, although the highest prices were still achieved to range between 190¢ and 234¢/kg. However, there was strong support for C muscle vealers and yearlings, which made between 165¢ and 215¢, and averaged around 189¢/kg. Strong interaction between trade buyers and lot feeders helped to keep prices on an even keel. Lot feeders purchased a large range of weights, and paid mostly between 165¢ and 190¢/kg for steers and heifers.

After a few weeks of rising grown steer prices, less competition prices fell around 3¢ and 12¢/kg. Northern markets were most affected, and most grown steers made from 168¢ to 193¢/kg.

Due to one processor being absent competition and weaker demand encouraged cow prices to fall 2¢ to 10¢/kg with a large number of lean one and two score cows offered. Better quality beef cows made from 135¢ to 154¢, while most of the lean cows made between 110¢ and 142¢/kg. Prices for better quality heavy bulls were as high as 179¢ with most sales between 140¢ and 170¢/kg.

SA weekly cattle summary

Reduced yardings

There were 2,117 cattle yarded at the 2009 Alice Springs Show store sale the previous Thursday, and featured fresh zero to two teeth steers and heifers, with only a few pens of lightweights showing signs of tough conditions. There was strong competition from T & R Pastoral Company and Simon Rowe who sourced most of the cattle offered. There was also a strong Brisbane order for Angus lightweights that topped the sale at 203¢/kg, while most other sales ranged between 175¢ and 194¢/kg for the steers, and 140¢ to 159¢/kg for the heifers. Numbers fell at the SA LE where 672 or 88 fewer in mixed quality runs sold to strong competition even though the buying ranks were reduced. Early runs featured good quality supplementary fed steers and heifers that sold up to 201¢ for the steers, and 196¢/kg for heifers. The few vealers offered tended to attract local butcher and wholesale inquiry. Another small yarding of cows with only 67 head offered, attracted a fluctuating trend.

Naracoorte’s numbers fell by 91 to 1,018 head and featured a large number of Northern Territory bred steers and heifers that had been on agistment at Meningie. Most tended to sell to a Victorian processors order between 150¢ and 161¢/kg. One downside to a generally dearer trend for the young cattle were the lower prices paid for a good quality yarding of cows. Mt. Gambier’s similar numbered yarding of 1,128 head witnessed overall quality slipping and allowed buyers to lower their rates over most categories, with only fresh quality vealers attracting spirited bidding.

Export categories cheaper

There was an easing in export categories despite a lower A$, and was not helped by the absence of a regular buyer who works are experiencing industrial problems. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 182¢ to 210¢ at rates 2¢ to 4¢kg dearer. Feeder and restocker orders secured C2 steers between 181¢ and 199¢ at dearer levels. Vealer heifers to mainly local butchers sold from 175¢ to 216¢, with lightweights at the higher end at rates 3¢ to 15¢/kg dearer. Feeders averaged around 176¢/kg to source C2 lightweights. C3 yearling steers sold at rates 3¢ to 5¢ dearer to wholesalers between 170¢ and 200¢/kg. Feeder purchases of C2 steers were mainly from 165¢ to 191¢ also at dearer levels. Yearling heifer sales were unchanged to 3¢ dearer, with C3 sales 156¢ to 196¢, and D3 sales 145¢ to 174¢/kg. Feeder orders sourced a mix of C and D muscled heifers between 142¢ and 180¢/kg.

Grown steer sales were 5¢ to 10¢ cheaper with C3 and C4 sales ranging between 172¢ and 193¢/kg, and averaged 340¢/kg cwt. Cow prices were unchanged to 6¢ cheaper, with most three to five scores selling between 123¢ to 148¢/kg, or 250¢ to 290¢/kg cwt.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Supply lifts for new financial year

Supply across NSW MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards jumped 11 per cent on the previous week despite the majority of markets yarding relatively similar numbers to the previous sales.

Supply was anticipated to lift on last week due to the beginning of a new financial year, improving prices and the continuing cold conditions. As a result several markets including Gunnedah and Tamworth increased 30 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. However scattered showers across the state encouraged several producers to hold onto available stock as numbers remained relatively stable at a number of centres.

The quality of cattle entering the markets continues to be mixed, however there has been a slight improvement in the young cattle sector. Following on from a relatively good start to the season in the north of the state, producers have been able to finish cattle on crops aiding to an improvement in condition. Also contributing to the trend has been the relatively cheap value of grain initiating a growing number of supplementary fed cattle.

Despite NSW’s reported markets witnessing greater numbers, vealer throughput dropped nine per cent on the previous week with processors feeling the crunch. A 10 per cent lift in yearlings yarded for both heifers and steers was welcomed by feed lots as 70 per cent more steers went to feed. The overall larger yardings was heavily influenced by an influx in the export sector with significantly more grown steers and cows yarded. The 29 per cent jump in grown steers to market was predominantly captured by feeders as numbers to slaughter remained relatively stable. Cow throughput lifted 24 per cent and was captured by the slaughter market which accounts for 89 per cent of cow destinations.

Prices relatively stable

Medium weight vealer steers to restockers eased 2¢ to range from 155¢ to 208¢ while plainer lightweights averaged 177¢ to top at 198¢/kg. The good run of medium weight C2 heifers to slaughter ranged from 140¢ to 180¢ while heavyweight 3 scores improved 7¢ to average 187¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers destined to feeder orders ranged from 155¢ to 196¢ while well finished heavyweights to slaughter averaged 183¢ with sales to 209¢/kg. A large run of medium weight heifers went to feeders with sales to 180¢ while heavyweights to processors averaged 174¢ to top at 200¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feeder orders improved 3¢ in value to average close to 169¢/kg. The medium weight C3’s generally went to slaughter with sales to 198¢/kg. Well conditioned heavyweights mostly ranged from 148¢ to 192¢ to hold firm while a good run of four score bullocks averaged 170¢ with sales to 189¢/kg to also remain unchanged on the previous week. Medium weight grown heifers in three score condition averaged close to 155¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows sold to 148¢ to average 120¢ while the 3 scores improved 2¢ to average 129¢/kg. The large supply of 3 and 4 score cows ranged from 115¢ to 154¢ to average close to 140¢/kg.

QLD weekly cattle summary

A large lift in supply

The traditional trend of a lift in supply at the commencement of a new financial year was displayed in the major market centres. Early week sales experienced a small decline in supply, however, as the week progressed numbers lifted with Dalby recording an increase of 28 per cent. The number of cattle penned across the state at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS increased by 20 per cent.

Buyer attendance was good at most markets with a full panel of export processors back in the market at Warwick. Longreach also reported a few extra operators in the buying panel, and this trend continued at Dalby where a full panel of export processors were present plus a large contingent of feeder and restocker buyers.

Despite a fair to good season being experienced in a number of areas the supply of calves into the saleyards lifted by 40 per cent. However demand from restockers was still strong enough to absorb the increased supply, plus lift values a further 9¢/kg. This movement in competition continued onto the vealer steers and lightweight yearling steers. The overall lift in quality of yearling grades to feed resulted in values improving by 3¢ to 5¢ and up to 10¢/kg in places.

The start of the new financial year experienced an increase of 35 per cent in the steer and bullock sections with a number of pens in excess of 750 kilos lwt present in the line-up. Nevertheless values remained very strong with heavyweights and eight tooth grades also receiving keen demand.

The increase in supply of cows also received good competition from processors with most selling very close to the previous week's level.

Most classes dearer

Calves to the trade averaged 15¢ better at 184¢, while the largest numbers returned to the paddock 9¢ dearer at 193¢ with sales to 224.2¢/kg. Vealer steers to restockers made to 215¢ with the large sample around 195¢/kg. Vealer heifers to processors when against the upward trend to average 3¢ less at 163¢, and a selected few sold to local butchers at 205.6¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock averaged 186¢ and made to 196¢ and feeder lines sold to a similar amount to average 181¢/kg. Medium and heavyweights to feed also generally sold close to 180¢ with the occasional sale to 193¢/kg. Local trade lines of yearling heifers improved 2¢ to 5¢ with both medium and heavyweights around 170¢ the occasional sale to 201¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed averaged 2¢ better at 170¢ with sales to 178.2¢/kg. Heavy steers to export slaughter mostly sold around 177¢ with sales to 183.2¢/kg. The good supply of bullocks made to 185.6¢ to average 176¢, and the heavy grades made from 170¢ to 179.2¢/kg.

The large number of medium weight two score cows average 1¢ better at 114¢, while three scores improved 5¢ to average 126¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to 146.6¢ to remain very solid in value at 139¢/kg.

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