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 8 October 2010
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

SA weekly cattle summary

Similar numbers

Cow numbers have remained quite high at Naracoorte where last Friday some 780 were yarded and attracted a mainly weaker trend from the regular South East and Victorian processor buyers. However, 145¢ to 160¢/kg is still a good price for better quality medium and heavy 3 and 4 score beef cows, with quite a few sales still above the 300¢/kg cwt mark despite a high A$. With not too many cows visible in South East paddocks, the question now is whether numbers are about to subside earlier than normal after the good prices that have been paid for some months. With no SALE market due to the long weekend Naracoorte kick-started the sale week with 1,213 mainly young cattle, or 105 head more. These sold to most of the usual SA and Victorian trade and processor buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were quite active sourcing mainly Angus vealer and yearling steers. However, quality and weights slipped on the previous week’s yarding with some trade and processor buyers restricted with their purchases. A South East processor was also quieter than normal before sourcing prime steers in the second last run. There were also what seemed to be Kimberley bred heifers in 2 and 3 score condition yarded that failed to attract that much interest as they sold mainly between 145¢ and 153¢/kg.

Mt. Gambier’s 1,784 head was 594 less and featured some magnificent vealers that attracted some spirited Victorian wholesale bidding for the light and medium weight B muscled steers. Millicent’s numbers remained similar at 1,075 head and featured many excellent quality vesaler steers and heifers.

Fluctuating trends

There were fluctuating trends on most categories as most buyers tried to lower the rates, with a high A$ not assisting export categories. Vealer steers in larger numbers to the trade sold from 182¢ to 235¢, with some sales 4¢ dearer and others 5¢/kg cheaper. Feeder orders sourced C2 steers between 181¢ and 203¢ at rates 3¢/kg less. Vealer heifers in mainly C3 runs sold from 197¢ to 220¢ to be generally 4¢ to 6¢/kg cheaper. Yearling steer C3 sales ranged between 176¢ and 201¢ with the heavyweights unchanged, and some medium weights 10¢/kg dearer when feeder activity kicked in. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 sales were from 170¢ to 195¢ at rates 4¢ to 5¢/kg dearer, with supplementary feds faring best.

Grown steers sold at rates 1¢ to 6¢ less, with C3 and C4 sales 172¢ to 190¢ and averaging just below 330¢/kg cwt. Grown heifer D3 to C4 sales were from 145¢ to 175¢ at generally lower levels. Most cows were unchanged to 10¢ cheaper, with beef D2 to C5 medium and heavyweight sales 115¢ to 160¢, and mainly 260¢ to 300¢/kg cwt. Dairy D1 to D3 sales were from 114¢ to 138¢ or 4¢ to 9¢/kg lower.

QLD weekly cattle summary

Massive lift in supply

The run of fine weather enabled more producers to move livestock to sales after several weeks of rain, resulting in supply at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS more than doubling the previous week's level to just under 25,000 head. Values generally could not maintain the rates of the previous weeks with losses of 5¢ to 10¢/kg fairly common. However by markets late in the week the forecast of another rain event strong demand was displayed by processor buyers and this resulted in a turnaround in values. Young lightweight cattle at early week markets tended to meet a firm to marginally dearer market, however as the week progressed and larger numbers became available some classes experienced an easing tendency. Nevertheless lightweight yearling steers to feed and some of the yearling heifers to feed went against the downward movement to remain fully firm. Medium and heavy weight yearling steers to feed suffered the most to average around 4¢ to 9¢/kg cheaper as one major feedlot buyer was present but not operating.

The first large consignment of 300 heavy bullocks from Birdsville boosted numbers to a much higher level at sales early in the week. Buyer attendance was not as good as the previous week, and across all markets a fairly large sample of bullocks averaged 9c/kg cheaper. Losses in the cow section was generally confined to around 4¢ to 5¢/kg however restocker and PTIC lines still commanded a fairly high rate. The new crop feed wheat is starting to be offered at lower prices dragging barley and sorghum values back as well as no buyers at this stage are coming forward to buy.

Prices weaker

Calves again sold to strong demand as did the light weight portion of the restockers, with vealer steers under 200kg selling to 229c/kg. Similar light vealer heifers sold to 222c and heavy vealer heifers made to 235c/kg. Most vealer steers to slaughter sold for 184c to 205c/kg. Vealer heifers made 191c to 196c for medium weights and 180c to 208c/kg.

Medium weight C muscled yearling steers to lotfeeders slipped 2c to 9c and averaged 200c/kg for medium weights. Slaughter grade remained firm at 195c and restockers paid a dearer rate of 198c/kg. The best light restocker steers sold to 237c/kg. Yearling heifers made 174c to 194c/kg to all buying segments.

At southern markets, Heavy steers to export slaughter mostly sold around 184c with sales to 190c/kg. Bullocks averaged 182c with a number of sales at 188.2c/kg. In Silverdale a standout supplementary fed pen of steers weighing 515kg made 215c/kg. Medium weigh 3 score cows averaged 138c and the better grades averaged 145c/kg. Good heavy cows made to 165.2 at Dalby and 158c at Roma, with most around 150c/kg.

WA weekly cattle summary

Saleyard numbers rise sharply

There has been further deterioration in the seasonal conditions for much of the southern corner of WA with no rainfall once again recorded with this now the driest winter on record. Accompanying the dry conditions have been increasing temperatures and dry easterly winds, both of which have had negative impacts on both crops and pastures. The majority of areas have now mown crops for hay with many yield estimates less than half of what would normally be expected. The combination of several dry winter seasons continues to negatively impact dam water storage and this is now as big a problem to stocking capacity as low feed levels. Conditions in much of the northern parts of WA also remain in drought conditions and across much of the state, outside of south coastal areas forecasts predict little or no rainfall in the short term. Subsequently all three major physical sales this week saw sharp rises in their yardings as producers are forced to bale out of stock. All three yardings saw increased volumes of new season calves. Yearling volumes were also very healthy, while cow supplies remained at very solid levels.

Heavy weight steer and heifer levels continued to be sold in relatively limited supply. The very strong demand seen from the eastern states this season has continued and remains a saving grace for WA producers with record levels of both store stock and cows and calves travelling across the country. Some agents and commission buyers have commented that one of the sticking points presently being experienced is a shortage and availability of transport.

Cow market eases

There was a sharp increase in the supplies of new season vealers forwarded into physical markets this week, particularly Muchea where numbers just failed to reach 1000 head. Boyanup and Mt Barker in the Great Southern also saw increased volumes. The majority of new season calves remained of light and medium weight with most of these not normally scheduled for sale until after the New Year. Demand for these remained solid with little or no change in the rates of either steers or heifers with a continued strong Eastern States restocker demand again recorded. Local demand from selected areas of the southwest was also reasonable. There was a slight increase in quality in the relatively limited supplies of finished trade weight yearling steers and heifers. These realised an increase in demand from the local trade with a selective export feeder and restocker competition also recorded on some steer lines. Subsequently there was a marginal rise in steer costings with little or no change in heifer rates.

The limited volumes of heavy weight steers and bullocks saw firm demand and rates paid, while the cow market saw an easing trend due to the larger supplies of local drafts seen this week.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Public holiday lowers numbers

Numbers across the state fell 40% at MLA’s NLRS reported physical markets. The fall in throughput was largely due to Tamworth, Wagga and Forbes not being held as a result of the public holiday on Monday. The public holiday and some more handy falls of rain also restricted all the other markets except Inverell which increased as more crop finished and supplementary fed lots were offered from western areas.

The quality of young cattle was mixed with plenty of consignments off crop or supplementary fed with plenty of weight. These were alongside some plainer lines turned off by producers looking to take advantage of the current strong demand from restockers looking to put mouths on the ground to take advantage of the abundance of feed some have. At Goulburn some young cattle were still exhibiting the effects of winter. On the other hand the quality of some grown steers slipped on previous weeks with some producers selling unfinished lines before the high level of the A$ has too much of an impact on prices. Some cows have reportedly been discounted by processors because they have excess condition.

Most of the usual buyers were present and active in the market. Trade prices remained similar to last week with no sales on Monday they were keen to make sure they secured adequate numbers. Feeder prices eased slightly particularly on the medium and heavyweight yearlings, partly due to supply pressure easing a bit as Queensland dries out extra weight is also affecting liveweight prices.

Export grades ease

Young cattle were subjected to varying demand. The short trading week helped to maintain some rates while quality was also a factor in determining trends. Lightweight vealer steers to restockers eased 2¢ to 10¢ averaging in the mid 230¢/kg range. Lightweight vealer heifers to slaughter eased 8¢ to 10¢ averaging between 211¢ and 227¢, medium weight vealer heifers to the trade remained steady at 221¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock eased 1¢ to 214¢ after reaching 278¢/kg at Armidale for a pen estimated to weigh 190kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed sold 1¢ to 3¢ cheaper as restocker prices averaged 205¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed and slaughter slipped 3¢ averaging 193¢ and 189¢ respectively. Lightweight yearling heifers to the trade gained 4¢ to 206¢ as those with more fat cover averaged 197¢/kg. The heifers to feed averaged 193¢ as medium weights slipped 5¢ to 185¢/kg. Heavyweights to processors were firm around 184¢/kg.

Grown cattle could maintain the rates of late. Medium weight grown steers to feeders were 3¢ to 6¢ cheaper averaging between 179¢ and 188¢/kg. Heavyweights to process were back 3¢ to 184¢ and bullocks were down 10¢ at 176¢/kg. Medium D3 cows were back 2¢ to 143¢ as heavyweight D4’s also lost 2¢ to average 152¢/kg.

VIC weekly cattle summary

Pakenham stronger

Having a public holiday in NSW last Monday certainly aided some stronger competition at Pakenham. Some buyers that would normally be at Wagga were at Pakenham, and while this did not create a lot of extra competition, it certainly assisted in higher prices for trade cattle. Some of this flowed through to Tuesday markets, but some of the higher prices were also due to better quality. At the Pakenham young cattle sale, there were a number of very good quality vealers, and some excellent quality supplementary fed yearlings. Prices for these exceeded any others from across the state, but they were exceptional cattle.

Overall, the supply increased at MLA’s NLRS reported sales with a 12% lift in numbers. The larger part of the increase were bullocks and cows with an influx of steers and bullocks at Wodonga, as some cattle that would have been sold at Wagga went to this market instead. Cow numbers increased across most markets, especially the main dairy districts with producers capturing the good prices. However, in some instances this created weaker demand, and lower prices. This was not the case at all markets, but competition varied, especially on Thursday where both Bairnsdale and Colac were quoted with less competition. Despite this Bairnsdale was cheaper, and Colac was unchanged to dearer, but at these sales and most others, some discount was given due to excessive fat cover. Because of these varying price trends, young cattle were firm to 10c dearer, and most cows sold at unchanged to 8c/kg cheaper rates.

Vealer competition solid

Exceptional supplementary fed yearlings at Pakenham weighed 430kg lwt and yielded an estimated 62% dressing percentage. They made the state top of 241.2c, closely followed by some similar weighted vealers at 240.2c/kg. Away from these few sales, most vealers made from 180c to 225c/kg over all markets, and some of the best competition was for lightweight vealers. Demand was very strong at all sales for medium to heavy yearling steers and heifers. Prices for steers ranged from 180c to 210c, while similar graded heifers were between 178c and 207c/kg. Having a supermarket returning to physicals markets has aided in the strong outcome for heifers. The EYCI figure was marginally lower at 372.25c, down 1.75c/kg week on week. The high value of the A$ may finally be having some effect on sales with prime bullocks averaging 3c lower, and cows were firm to 6c/kg cheaper.

Prime bullocks made from 172c to 192c for an average of 185.5c/kg. Better quality 3 and 4 score beef cows made from 139c to 171c, averaging 4c lower at 153c/kg. Plain cows made mostly from 100c to 145c/kg, and the carcass weight price average was 4c lower at 303c/kg.

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