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 9 October 2009
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

VIC weekly cattle summary

Supply lifts

After the rain affected markets of last week, the supply of cattle did increase. However, there was only a 10 per cent lift in numbers.

All of Victoria has now had some rain with East Gippsland receiving some good falls of 20 to over 50mm during the week. Even though this week was better weather wise, the small lift in supply did little to lift demand. This resulted in prices varying a lot between sales.

The composition of the markets was more varied also with more young cattle penned, but fewer cows were yarded. Considering the increasing value of the A$, grown cattle prices were better than expected, particularly with a lift in cow prices at most sales. Conflicting results were achieved for grown steers and bullocks with prime bullocks averaging unchanged when considering quality. However, weaker processor demand affected grown steer prices by as much as 8c/kg.

The heavy yearling steers fitting this criteria, along with prices for young cattle assisted a fall of 4.50¢ in the EYCI to 313¢/kg cwt. Failing demand from feedlots affected prices of some young cattle, particularly the plainer condition end of the market.

The reverse trend was witnessed for cows suiting restockers with stronger demand assisting higher prices. Coming out of the winter, there are still plenty of poor condition cows coming into markets, and while most of the purchases were beef cows, a number of dairy cows were purchased by restockers as well. Most of these cows however are expected to return to market once they have improved in condition.

Prices hold firm to dearer

Despite the lack of top quality vealers and supplementary fed yearlings being yarded, demand did not spike as could be expected. The very best quality cattle made to 232¢, although these prices were very few with most of the B muscle cattle making from 180¢ to 215¢/kg. Price increases of up to 8¢/kg were realised for better quality C muscle vealers, which made form 175¢ to 210¢/kg. While some of these results are good, there is a reasonable distance between steer and heifer prices. Vealer and yearling steers averaged around 178¢, but similar heifers only averaged around 160¢/kg.

Despite some good quality grown steers being penned, prices for C muscle grades were between 150¢ and 188¢, and only averaged 174¢/kg. Prime bullocks averaged close to this with most sales being from 155¢ to 178¢/kg. Despite some higher prices for cows the carcass weight price average was only 2¢/kg higher. Better quality cows made from 124¢ to 149¢ with most others between 84¢ and 126¢/kg. There has been in lift in the price of good quality bulls with most sales of B muscle bulls ranging from 125¢ to 155¢/kg.

WA weekly cattle summary

Saleyard numbers lightly higher

Conditions in the traditional cattle breeding areas south of Perth remain wet and clouded and the combined effect continues to have a negative impact of pasture growth and subsequently feed levels remain tight. To illustrate this further there are still some producers of the far south coast that are still doing some supplementary feeding to there cattle. There has been a lack of weight in both finished mature cattle and this year’s crop of new season calves. Saleyards have already seen cattle that were purchased earlier in the year and resold as producers were unable to finish them on current feed levels.

The return to the normal selling week saw saleyard numbers rise despite the Great Southern’s sale falling to almost half the previous week’s level. Midland remains the largest of the three weekly sales and once again had very solid numbers of pastoral cattle in its yarding total. The numbers of trade and heavy weight steers and heifers continues to be restricted with the majority of yardings being made up of young store grades and cows.

Trade demand remains conservative on both the domestic and export sides with the latter continuing to have to compete with an ever increasing value of the Australian dollar. Domestically, product continues to be hard to sell with solid volumes of imported eastern states beef still entering WA. Live export demand continues to be generally restricted to lightweight bull categories with the majority of their orders still being filled from the northern pastoral regions

Cow rates fall

The strong turnoff of lightweight vealers and calves continued this week and the large supplies once again had a stabilising effect on demand from restockers and the processing sector. Lightweight drafts accounted for the majority of vealers seen with medium and heavyweight drafts all but non-existent and the few available recorded a solid local trade and retail demand. Demand from the feeder and processing sectors on grass fed trade weight yearling steers and heifers ensured firm rates were realised. The store market this week recorded an increase in both restocker and feeder demand that saw rate rises across many of the classes.

Bullock numbers were very minimal and these realised equal competition and demand from the trade to hold unchanged in values. Heavyweight grown steers also saw little or no change in values. Heavyweight grown heifers on the other hand retreated in value under less demand and this was also the case in heavyweight cows. The market here saw downward pressure due to both the increasing dollar and the volumes available in the market this week. Heavyweight bulls suffered a similar loss in value as trade demand and competition waned.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Public holiday restricts supply

Due to the closure of Monday’s markets as a result of the public holiday, cattle availability across MLA’s NLRS reported saleyards dropped 30 per cent compared to last week. Supply at Casino fell 25 per cent compared to the previous market, with Dubbo also experiencing an 18 per cent decrease in numbers.

However supply at some of the individual markets did increase, with numbers at Armidale more than doubling while the number of cattle yarded at CTLX and Gunnedah increased 23 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. Scattered showers across the state also contributed to the drop in supply, with some produces choosing to hold onto stock. The lack of rain in other areas however has forced producers to continue to offload due to the deteriorating season.

With the closure of Monday’s markets, all categories yarded significantly fewer cattle, with all buying sectors feeling the effects. Once again vealers and yearlings made up the majority of the yardings.

The quality of the cattle remains mixed across the reported saleyards. However while there were some good runs of well finished supplementary fed cattle, there is also an increasing proportion of plainer cattle being yarded each week.

Most of the regular buyers were present and operating, with the markets generally selling to a cheaper trend. The plainer lines met solid restocker interest as did the better bred lots. However NSW direct to slaughter rates deceased this week, with processors encouraged to pull rates back further due to the deteriorating season combined with a lack of export demand and high A$.

Prices continue to fall

As competition eases from all buying sectors and supply continues to come forward, prices eased across the board. Medium weight C2 vealer steers to slaughter averaged close to 180¢ while those returning to the paddock generally sold around 176¢/kg. Lightweight C2 vealer heifers improved 2¢ to settle at 184¢ while the medium weights sold to a top of 200¢/kg. Lightweight C2 yearling steers purchased by restockers eased 8¢ in value to 170¢ while medium weights to feeders averaged 163¢/kg. The heavyweight 3 score portion made from 155¢ to 208¢ to averaged 1¢ dearer at 170¢/kg. Medium weight heifers to feed eased 4¢ to close at 152¢ while the heavyweight 3 scores to slaughter averaged 156¢ with sales to 184¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed finished 3¢ cheaper at 155¢ while heavyweights to slaughter sold to a top of 171¢/kg. The 3 score bullocks made from 157¢ to 168¢ to finish 1¢ dearer at 162¢/kg. Medium weight C3 grown heifers to slaughter mostly sold around 149¢ with sales to 162¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows held firm at 111¢ while the 3 scores sold from 110¢ to 124¢/kg. The good supply of 4 score heavyweight cows averaged close to 125¢ to top at 135¢/kg.

QLD cattle summary

Producers reacted to the fall in values

Despite the rapid decline in seasonal conditions across large areas of the state, producers reacted to the fall in values experienced the previous week resulting in a large reduction in supply of 31 per cent at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS. Quality also declined with large samples of young cattle either returning to the paddock or purchased by feeder operators. A relatively fair sample of bullocks came forward, however a much smaller number of cows were available, with good heavy cow supply falling by 68 per cent.

Buyer attendance at most markets was good with southern processors providing strong competition on calves and vealers with vealer heifers at Dalby improving in value. Restocker's and feeder operators provided solid support on yearling grades and apart from issues with quality in places, values generally remained very close to the previous week's level. Nevertheless slaughter grades of yearlings experienced a different trend. While heavy descriptions of yearling steers remained firm, average prices eased for medium weights. Most slaughter grades of yearling heifers also suffered price reductions with average prices 2¢ to 3¢/kg cheaper.

Following the large drop in slaughter grades of grown steer and bullock prices experienced the previous week values tended to stabilise and even show some improvement in places. Values at early week markets received some improvement and this trend continued as the week progressed. Cows did not follow this trend and continued to sell to a softer market with good heavy cows battling to remain firm while those in the 2 and 3 score ranges eased by 2¢ to 3¢/kg.

Mixed values continue

A reduced number of calves were penned and slaughter grades mostly sold around 177¢ with a handful returning to the paddock making to 190¢/kg. Slaughter grades of vealer steers averaged 4¢ less at 173¢ with sales to 194.2¢/kg. The fall in quality across all markets allowed average prices for vealer heifers to ease by 5¢ to 164¢ while a handful of top end quality lines made to 197.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed averaged 178¢ and medium and heavyweights sold in the high 160¢/kg range. Some large samples of restocker lines averaged 175¢ and sold to 184.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to feed averaged just under 160¢, and D muscle lines to slaughter sold around 4¢ cheaper at 135¢/kg. Heavy C3 yearling heifers to the trade averaged 3¢ less at 156¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed were in demand and made to 173.2¢ and averaged 166¢/kg. Heavy steers to export slaughter across all markets improved 2¢ to average 164¢/kg. A fair supply of bullocks experienced a small improvement of 1¢ to average 162¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 1¢ cheaper at 111¢, and 3 scores 2¢ less at 120¢/kg. Heavy 3 scores generally sold around 124¢, while a small supply of good heavy cows averaged 130¢/kg.

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