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 28 January 2011
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

QLD weekly cattle summary

Massive lift in supply

Cattle numbers increased by a massive 127 per cent as livestock producers took advantage of the dry weather conditions and improved market prices. The supply of store cattle at Roma climbed to 9,000 head, and with the general supply area around Dalby starting to recover from recent floods and roads becoming more accessible to transport numbers climbed to 4,330 head. This trend continued as the week progressed with the Roma prime sale attracting the largest number in over a decade at 4,450 head. The overall quality at most centres was generally fair to good, with some large consignments of good quality grades included in the line-up. Buyer attendance in the young cattle sections was generally good with strong support from butchers wholesalers and supermarkets. Apart from adjustments to average prices in places most slaughter descriptions sold to within 2¢ to 3¢/kg from the high levels the previous week. Restockers remained very active on the lightweight yearlings, however the greater number of cattle did ease some constraints with average prices 4¢ to 13¢/kg cheaper. Feeder grades experienced a mixed trend with medium weight yearling steers averaging over 10¢/kg easier, however heavy weights experienced very little change in price, and medium and heavy weight yearling heifers to feed generally received firm demand.

Export slaughter grades of heavy steers bullocks and cows commence the week on a strong trend, however by mid week the absence of some export processors from the buying panel saw values ease. Across all markets for the week heavy steers and bullocks averaged 5¢ less, while cows eased in value by around 3¢/kg.

Most classes eased in value

Calves to restockers averaged 224¢ and made to 247.2¢ and slaughter grades mostly sold around 219¢/kg. Heavy vealer steers sold to local butchers at 216¢ with the occasional B muscle category reaching 261.6¢/kg. A fair supply of vealer heifers to slaughter averaged 212¢, with butchers paying to 239.2¢/kg for top end quality lines. Lightweight yearling steers to restockers averaged 4¢ less at 228¢ with some to 248.2¢/kg. A good supply of medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 14¢ cheaper at 210¢ and a large number of heavy weights experienced very little change at 200¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to feed averaged 200¢ and restocker grades 205¢/kg. Medium weight lines to feed averaged 3¢ cheaper at 203¢ and slaughter classes held firm at 202¢ with sales to 224.6¢/kg. Medium weight grown steers to feed experienced very little change in price at 194¢ and sold to 206.2¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter averaged 5¢ cheaper at 187¢ and a relatively large supply of bullocks lost a similar amount to average 186¢ the occasional sale to 201.6¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows lost 7¢ to average 125¢, and 3 scores were cheaper by 3¢ to average 146¢/kg. A fair number of good heavy cows eased by 3¢ to average 158¢, with a few isolated sales to 178.2¢/kg.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Number dip with holiday

With the Australia day public holiday on Wednesday the market at Singleton. Casino moved from Wednesday and sold on Monday. The mid week selling break resulted in numbers across the state at MLA's NLRS reported physical markets fell 16 per cent, the shortening of supply was also in part due to the high throughput the week previous. There was mixed yardings with the northern markets of Gunnedah, Inverell, Armidale and Dubbo all having significant drops in supply. On the other hand numbers were boosted at Tamworth and Wagga.

Quality was mostly fair to good although there are is still a good supply of plainer lines despite the seasonal conditions, with the recent strong prices maybe a factor in producers opting to sell cattle before they are properly finished. Yearling steers were the largest category to be sold as they constituted 19 per cent of the states total yarding. There was also a good supply of yearling heifers as they made up 17 per cent of the total offering. Grown steers were in good numbers with around 3,000 marketed, or 13 per cent.

Feeder buyers remained very active on young cattle. They accounted for 53 per cent of vealer steer purchases, 57 per cent of yearling steers along with 46 per cent of the yearling heifers.

Despite saleyard prices beginning to soften over the hooks rates were again stronger this week. One processor lifted rates by up to 15¢ for some categories and another increased cow quotes. There have been some reports that some cattle have been affected by the hot dry days as some feed has begun to dry off.

Prices show softening trend

Even with fewer numbers in NSW as the supply situation picks up in Queensland prices have generally begun to soften from the very high levels seen since the start of the year. Medium weight vealer steers to restockers remained firm on 245¢ while those to processors slipped 5¢ to 229¢/kg. Lightweight heifer vealers to slaughter averaged 6¢ cheaper on 232¢ and the medium weights were back 8¢ on 226¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers back to the paddock eased 1¢ to 218¢ as medium weights to feed were 2¢ lower on 215¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed were down 7¢ to 204¢ and those to processors made 203¢ to be 3¢/kg cheaper. Medium heifer yearlings were 8¢ to 10¢ cheaper making around 203¢, heavyweights to slaughter averaged 4¢ lower on 194¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed were 3¢ to 9¢ lower making around 189¢/kg. Heavyweight C3 grown steers sold to 208¢ to mostly settle 2¢ lower on 194¢/kg. The C3 and C4 bullocks averaged 192¢ to be from 1¢ dearer to 5¢/kg cheaper. Medium D3 cows slipped 3¢ to 150¢ while the heavyweight 4 scores remained steady on 159¢ after reaching 170.6¢/kg.

SA weekly cattle summary

Smaller saleyard numbers

There must be some very deep pockets or an abundance of feed around at Naracoorte's last feature weaner sales Thursday week ago when 4,034 steers sold to very strong processor enquiry to feed, along with South East SA, Leongatha and Warragul orders. There were some amazing prices paid for lightweights as a number of sales rose above the 300c/kg lwt mark, with the medium and heavy steers 220c to 275c/kg. The trend flowed onto Friday's 2,563 heifers with once again some lightweights made over 290c, while most others sold from 200c to 275c/kg lwt.

The mid week Australia Day holiday played havoc with livestock markets as Mt. Gambier's Monday sale attracted a large yarding of 2,317 head including 1,025 grown steers and bullocks. However, with a NSW operator only sourcing one pen for this week's short kill, prices retreated by around 8c to 20c/kg as the other operating buyers took the opportunity to pull prices back mainly below the 200c/kg mark.

SA Livestock Exchange's lower yarding of 517 head sold to solid competition from the usual buyers in a fluctuating priced sale. Feeder and restocker orders provided strong demand for all young cattle at dearer levels. Naracoorte's 1,479 was 536 head less, due to the lower prices being paid the day before and many abattoirs not operating on Wednesday. This also prompted Millicent agents to cancel their Thursday market. Naracoorte's sale followed the weaker trend as most categories sold to limited trade and processor competition.

Generally cheaper week

Apart from isolated sales, the majority of categories attracted generally weaker trends. Vealer steers to the trade sold mainly from 195c to 229c at rates 3c to 10c/kg cheaper. Strong feeder and restocker orders sourced C2 light and medium weights from 199c to 227c, or 2c to 4c/kg less. Vealer heifers to the trade sold generally between 185c and 218c to 3c to 6c/kg cheaper. Feeder and backgrounding orders purchased C2 and C3 heifers from 200c to 215c at rates unchanged to 2c/kg dearer. Yearling steer C3 sales were from 170c to 205c at prices 10c/kg cheaper for the heavyweights. Feeders sourced C2 and C3 steers from 175c to 220c at rates up to 11c/kg lower. Yearling heifers C3 and C4 sales were between 171c and 208c to be 3c to 19c/kg cheaper.

Grown steers and bullocks sold at rates 12c to 21c less, with most sales 180c to 206c or around a 350c/kg cwt average. The D3 to C6 medium and heavy beef cows sold from 133c to 174c to be 4c to 12c cheaper and mainly 285c to 305c/kg cwt. Dairy D1 to D4 sales were 116c to 165c at rates 3c to 22c/kg less, averaging 290c/kg cwt.

WA weekly cattle summary

Numbers constrict

Total cattle supplies were down 17 per cent at MLA's NLRS reported physical markets with fewer cattle offered at Muchea and both Great Southern markets. Vealers continue to dominate the states supply as the steers accounted for 20 per cent of total numbers and heifers accounted for 26 per cent of cattle offered for the week. Yearlings and grown steers were in very limited supply while cows made up around 11 per cent of the total yarding.

With limited recorded rainfall most areas of the state are still in the grips of a very poor season with water and fed supplies still a pressing issue. There was some heavy falls of rain in the Pilbara caused by Tropical Cyclone Bianca. This has been reflected in the quality presented with very few young cattle in prime condition suited to slaughter. Only 11 per cent of young cattle were purchased by processor buyers. Feeder buyers had a strong presence in the young cattle sections and they accounted for 82 per cent of vealer steers purchases along with close to 90 per cent of the vealer heifers.

While all the usual buyers were present at Muchea on Monday, at the young cattle sale on Thursday at Great Southern not all the regular buyers were present and there was less interest from eastern states restockers than has been displayed in the recent past. Restockers were most interested in females, they secured 11 per cent of the yearling heifers and a similar proportion of cows.

Over the hooks prices remained firm for yearlings while export cattle strengthened on the back of suitable cattle becoming hard to find.

Price changes mixed

Price trends varied somewhat affected by quality and buyer presence in the market. A reduction in total supply helped to maintain some price levels. Medium weight yearling steers to live exporters averaged firm on 240¢ after reaching a top of 246¢, those selling to feeders sold to a cheaper trend making around 227¢/kg. Heavyweight vealer steers to feeders reached 225¢ and averaged 218¢/kg. Medium weight vealer heifers to feeders averaged 200¢ and plainer lines settled around 190¢/kg. The C2 vealer heifers weighing between 280 and 330kg lwt were steady averaging 206¢/kg. Heavyweight yearling steers purchased by processors mostly sold between 168¢ and 199¢ to average 179¢ which was 4¢/kg dearer than last week. Medium yearling heifers to the trade averaged 183¢ as the heavyweights gained 4¢ to make 187¢/kg.

There were very few grown steers yarded the best pen of heavyweights made 187¢/kg. Lightweight plain grown heifers averaged 136¢ with those in better condition averaging 138¢/kg. Lightweight cows to restockers averaged 120¢/kg. Most cows were medium weights and they reached 124¢ to average 111¢/kg. Heavyweight cows made a top of 120¢ and averaged 106¢ to 113¢/kg depending on condition. Lightweight bulls to live exporters averaged 167¢/kg.

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