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 30 July 2010
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Number ease back

Cattle throughput decreased by six per cent at MLA's NLRS reported physical markets compared to last week. When compared to the previous week it depended on the saleyard with some having increased numbers and some slipping. There were more cattle penned at the Hunter Valley markets of Scone and Singleton. Improved prices last week meant producers were able to find a few more numbers for the Gunnedah and Casino markets and after one of its smallest yardings on record last week Inverell agents penned 556 head. On the other hand numbers at Dubbo fell 47 per cent after an unseasonably large yarding last week and good rainfall over the supply area over the past couple of days. Forbes and Armidale also had reduced yardings which may continue in the short-term anyway.

As has been the trend over recent times quality presented has been mixed. There are plenty of plain well bred cattle which lack the finish to be considered by processors but have been strongly contested by feeders and producers with plenty holding an optimistic outlook for spring. Crop finished cattle purchased by processors have been yielding well which is offsetting any increases in liveweight price.

Yearlings and cows are the two dominant categories although there were good numbers of vealers offered depending on the saleyard. Restockers were keen to secure young steers with feeders also active on the yearling portion. Processors accounted for most young heifer and cow purchases. Rainfall across the state boosted restocker presence pushing vealer steer prices 5¢ higher to average 214¢ and yearling steers sold 3¢ dearer at 202¢/kg lwt.

Prices mixed

Restocker demand helped improve most young cattle prices as export categories experienced mixed trends as the A$ reached US90¢ during the week. Lightweight vealer steers to restockers reached a top of 237¢ to average between 211¢ and 217¢/kg. Medium weights also returning to the paddock gained 5¢ to average 214¢ after reaching 226¢/kg. Those going to the trade reached the same high averaging 207¢ which was 4¢/kg dearer than last week. Medium weight vealer heifers gained 4¢ to average 201¢ as the heavyweights were firm at 197¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to restockers were firm at 206¢, medium weights to feed made around 197¢ as heavyweights to the same buyers averaged 190¢/kg. Heavyweights to the process gained 1¢ to 188¢ while the heifer portion gained 3¢ to 180¢/kg. Light and medium weight yearling heifers to feed both sold slightly dearer around 182¢/kg.

Heavyweight grown steers improved 3¢ averaging 182¢ making a top of 197¢/kg. C4 Bullocks sold between 162¢ and 192¢ averaging the same as last week at 179¢/kg. Medium D2 cows to process gained 7¢ to average 133¢, similar limes to restockers were firm at 130¢/kg. Heavyweight D3 cows reached 160¢ to average 148¢ which was 2¢ dearer as heavyweights averaged 150¢/kg.

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Increased yardings

While the SA LE's numbers fell by 75 (to 460 head) in mixed quality runs, Naracoorte's numbers rose by 427 (to 1,380 head) after last week's improved quality dearer sale. However while quality slipped with fewer supplementary fed yearlings offered and more unfinished cattle available, there was a magnificent run of heavy 4 to 6 score cows that sold to strong SA and Victorian processor competition, with a Naracoorte operator back in the mix again. Mt. Gambier's 1,291 were 284 head more after the better prices paid last week, particularly when grown steers were outselling the yearlings. Millicent had 292 head (or 167 head) more than a fortnight ago. Competition at the SA LE for prime trade cattle was solid and tended to attract a dearer trend, with B muscled vealer steers selling to 224¢, and the heifers 210¢/kg to mainly local butcher demand. Yearling steers to the trade and feeder orders were generally cheaper on the previous week's improved prices, while the C3 heifer portion were dearer to the trade.

Both Naracoorte's and Mt. Gambier's sales were erratic with more vealers and the cows attracting a dearer trend as three regular SA and Victorian buyers who were on holidays having other Victorian and NSW buyers covering for them. While most young cattle and grown steers sold at unchanged to lower levels, the mainly Angus vealer steers and heifers attracted solid competition from a mixture of orders. The cow market continued to improve despite the A$ now over 90¢, and many carcase weight prices rising above the 300¢/kg barrier again.

Erratic trends

The varying quality offered in larger numbers only led to erratic trends on most categories. However, cows attracted a generally dearer trend as SA and Victorian processors struggled to source supplies. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 172¢ to 224¢ with lightweights 8¢ dearer, and the heavyweights 2¢ to 12¢/kg cheaper. Feeder and restocker prices on C2 steers were from 188¢ to 210¢ at rates 4¢ to 16¢/kg dearer. Vealer heifer sales tended to fluctuate with trade purchases 178¢ to 213¢ at rates varying from 3¢ dearer and 3¢ to 4¢/kg cheaper. Feeders sourced C2 heifers from 175¢ to 188¢ or 3¢/kg dearer. The C3 yearling steers sold from 165¢ to 196¢ to the trade at rates 2¢ to 5¢/kg cheaper. The C2 and C3 sales to feeders were between 164¢ to 198¢ and mainly 2¢ to 3¢/kg less. Yearling C3 and C4 heifers sold from 160¢ to 191¢ and generally unchanged to 6¢/kg cheaper.

Grown steers were 6¢ to11¢ lower, with C3 and C4 sales generally 176¢ to 195¢/kg and mainly 320¢ to 345¢/kg cwt. Cows were mainly 1¢ to 10¢ dearer, with D3 to C6 sales 135¢ to 163¢/kg and generally in a 285¢ to 320¢/kg cwt price range.

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Light rainfall seen in south

Dry conditions remain in much of the Pilbarra and Gascoyne regions and drought continues to grip many pastoralists in these areas. Further south in the Agricultural regions the dry and below average conditions continue, despite several days of rainfall which brought light rainfall. The largest falls were recorded in western and southern coastal areas, while the majority of areas saw falls less than 10mm. the recent spell of cold weather has finished with only some areas seeing light frosting and day time temperatures have warmed. This has aided what has been a very slow growing period for both pastures and crops with many producers till supplementary feeding and yet to local paddocks up for hay production. Dam water levels also remain a concern at this time of year for many producers with the lack of rain and light falls yet to produce any real run off into storage. The dry conditions throughout much of the pastoral regions continues to see Muchea yard solid supplies of light plain conditions cattle from these areas. The lower weight restrictions into the Indonesian market remains an influence with many pastoralists in the far north of the State continuing to send cattle south to southern processors. There was a marginal increase in total saleyard supplies this week.

There were slightly larger volumes of finished heavy weight steers, bullocks and heifers penned, while southern sales saw marginal increases in grass finished trade weight yearling numbers. Cow volumes remained in reasonable supply at all three weekly markets, while store grades of local cattle were sold in good numbers.

Cow rates ease

The supply of vealers in WA remain all but non-existent with most again being of calf weights. The numbers of grain finished yearlings this week were similar but there was again a lack of both weight and quality recorded in both steer and heifer classes. Trade demand subsequently waned with the majority of both sexes purchased by feeders at lower rates for further finishing in feed lots. There was an increase in the numbers of finished grass finished trade yearlings, but despite this their supplies still remain limited. The increase in quality was rewarded by higher prices having been paid by the local trade, while steers in and around 400kg lwt also saw a selective live export competition. There was less weight and quality evident in local store classes.

Medium weight steer sales improved due to a more active live export competition, while lightweight sales were firm to both live export and restockers. Heifer sales on the other hand struggled particularly mixed quality lightweight sales. Pastoral store sales continued struggle also with most in very plain condition. The cow market saw a solid start to the week with a continued firm processor demand realised. This did however fall off in latter sales.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

A fall in supply

The supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLA's NLRS varied by a few hundred head either side of the previous week's level at southern markets. However across the state numbers fell by 10 per cent, with the Roma prime sale recording a 46 per cent fall in supply. Nevertheless the selling agents in places are indicating that there are still plenty of cattle on crop yet to come onto the market in future weeks. Apart from a few consignments of well presented grades the overall standard remains mixed, especially in the cow section where 3 scores dominated supply and increased numbers of plain condition cows were included in the line-up at Warwick. Buyer attendance was good at most centres and competition increased resulting price rises across a number of categories. Vealer heifers in southern markets came under extreme buying pressure from local and southern processors, with heated competition between buyers at some centres lifted average prices by 16¢/kg. The stronger support displayed by feeder operators the previous week continued at most markets resulting in average prices improving a further 5¢ to 8¢/kg. Restockers remained very active and purchased the vast majority of the lightweight lines, while feeder operators were the dominant buyers on the medium and heavyweight classes.

Despite moderate to small numbers of slaughter grades of heavy steers and bullocks coming onto the market average prices fell by 1¢ to 3¢/kg. However cows went against this trend to improve in value by 2¢ to 3¢/kg. Strong restocker support plus good demand from processors lifted values on cows in the lower fat score ranges.

Young cattle dearer

Calves returning to the paddock averaged 5¢ better at 204¢ and sold to 228.2¢, while those to the trade mostly sold around 195¢/kg. Vealer steers to both restocker's and feeder operators made over 200¢ with a few returning to the paddock making to 219.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade made to 212.2¢ and in places a consignment of over 60 head made to 209.2¢, however across all markets average prices were around 177¢/kg. Once again a large number of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at an average of 208¢ with occasional sales at 236.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 5¢ better at 198¢ with sales to 211.2¢/kg. Heavyweights improved a similar amount and averaged 186¢, with a few pens of well bred grades reaching 204.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to restocker's averaged 184¢ and slaughter grades averaged 183¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed lifted in price by 8¢ to average 182¢, with one line of close to 100 head making to 197.2¢/kg.

Medium and heavyweight slaughter lines mostly sold in the 170¢/kg range a few sales to 195.2¢/kg. Bullocks to export slaughter averaged 3¢ cheaper at 173¢ the occasional pen of supplementary fed grades making to 188.2¢/kg. A large number of medium weight score 3 cows averaged 3¢ dearer at close to 132¢ while good heavy cows made to 160¢ to average 2¢ better at 147¢/kg.

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