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 25 February 2011
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Overall supply unchanged

The supply of stock at most selling centres experienced a small decline, however with Longreach back on the overall supply at physical markets covered by MLA's NLRS remained within a few hundred head of the previous weeks level.

Overall quality also declined in places as producers decided to take advantage of a strong market. Buyer attendance remains good with most of the major export buyers in attendance and as one processor eased back in the market another stepped in.

Values for young cattle were mixed with quality a factor on some lines. Restockers maintained strong competition on the vealer steers. However vealer heifers experienced mixed results and eased at some selling centres, while limited numbers at other markets pushed prices higher. Feeder descriptions experienced a similar trend and varied in price from centre to centre. Nevertheless across all markets medium weight lines averaged 4 3 to 5 3/kg cheaper while a very large number of heavy weights remained virtually unchanged in price. Local butchers wholesalers and supermarkets maintained strong support on yearling grades with only variations to average prices according to quality.

Heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter commenced the week on a firm trend and improved in value as the week progressed to average 2 3 to 3 3/kg better. Full mouth mature bullocks once again were not penalised and in places sold close to the same rates as the younger classes. The vast majority of the cows were in the 3 and 4 score ranges and improvements of 3 3 to 6 3/kg was fairly common.

Export grades dearer

Calves to the trade averaged 224 3 and sold to 260 3/kg. The good line-up of well bred restocker vealer steers of the previous week were absent, nevertheless those offered still made to 258.2 3 with most around 236 3/kg. Across all markets a fairly large number of vealer heifers were penned and sold to 234.2 3 to average 211 3/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to restockers made to 253.2 3 with a large number around 219 3/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 204 3 and sold to 231.2 3, and heavy weights were well supplied and remained firm at 195 3 with a few pens to 220.2 3/kg. A large selection of medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 192 3 and sold to 206.2 3/kg. Heavy classes to the supermarket trade generally sold around 183 3 with the occasional sale to 216.2 3/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed made to a top of 196.2 3 with most around 187 3/kg. Heavy steers to export slaughter improved 2 3 to average 187 3, and a fair selection of bullocks averaged 3 3 better at 190 3 with the occasional pen reaching 198.2 3/kg. Full mouth bullocks made to 189.2 3 to average 181 3/kg. Medium weight 3 score cows averaged 3 3 dearer at 144 3/kg. A large number of good heavy cows improved 2 3 to average 160 3, with isolated sales over 170 3/kg.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Numbers pick up

Numbers increased 11 per cent across the state with most of MLA's NLRS reported physical markets experiencing greater throughput. Dubbo had the largest increase in yarding size with a drier run of weather in the west and strong prices allowing throughput to return to more normal levels following a reduced offering last week. Casino had fewer numbers with a slip in the number of vealers made available, although there were still some good quality medium weights offered. Wagga was also well down compared to the previous week following some wet conditions in the supply area over the weekend. Numbers were almost halved at Goulburn with the yarding mostly consisting of plainer, secondary lines.

Vealer numbers continue to pick up, they made up 20 per cent of the total cattle offering with similar numbers of steers and heifers. Yearlings contributed 38 per cent to total throughput and buyer demand from all sectors remains very strong helping to push the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) to 395.75¢/kg cwt after Thursday's markets. The quality of the yearling steers was not up to the last few weeks levels at some markets, although overall condition and weight has been excellent.

Grown cattle were also highly sought after by the export processors with plenty of grown steers making over 200¢ and heavy cows selling for more than 160¢/kg lwt.

Over the hooks rates were also dearer, once again grown cattle received the greatest benefits. Processors have also reacted to offerings of consigned cattle not meeting their requirements.

Grown cattle prices stronger

Lightweight vealer steers back to the paddock reached 292¢ and averaged 256¢, as processors paid to a top of 348¢ with most sales closer to 270¢/kg. Medium weights to restockers were in the majority as prices held firm on 246¢/kg. Light vealer heifers to slaughter averaged 6¢ dearer on 243¢ as the medium weights gained up to 7¢, with most sales from 227¢ to 234¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steer to restockers gained 5¢ to average 224¢/kg or $680/head. Medium weights to feeders were firm on 212¢ as the heavy weights averaged 208¢/kg. Medium heifer yearlings to feed gained 4¢ to average 209¢ as heavyweights to processors settled around 203¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed were firm on 190¢ as the heavy weights to slaughter improved 10¢ to 203¢ after reaching 224.2¢/kg. Bullocks averaged 7¢ dearer on 195¢/kg. Cows also sold to a dearer trend as medium weight 2 scores made 139¢ and the 3 scores averaged 148¢/kg. Medium 4 score cows were steady on 152¢/kg. Heavyweight 3 scores gained 2¢ to 159¢ and the 4 score settled around 161¢ after reaching 182¢/kg. The heavyweight bulls gained 2¢ to settle around 156¢ after reaching a top of 178.2¢/kg.

WA weekly cattle summary

Restockers strong

WA's North West has finally been given the all clear with cyclone Carlos passing out to sea. Karratha was hit by a mini tornado during the week, which caused limited damage, with strong winds throughout the North West. This has meant a shortage in pastoral cattle coming into Muchea which might have a continual effect throughout the year as stations look to rebuild their herds.

While there have been floods and heavy rain in the north, the agricultural districts down to Mount Barker remain dry with many producers hand feeding stock. Southern and coastal areas, particularly in the surrounds of Albany and Esperance have received good summer rains and have reasonable pasture growth. Restocker buyers from these districts showed plenty of interest in vealers at the Great Southern sale on Thursday with plenty keen to get mouths on the ground to take advantage of the available feed.

After returning to the one day format with a smaller sale last week, Great Southern numbers lifted. The majority of the yarding consisted of vealers, with heifers in the largest proportion. Most regular trade representatives were present and active in the market, with good demand and competition from local feeders and restockers for vealers. There was a limited supply of yearlings in light condition; however, those that were yarded were keenly sort after. Heavyweight grown cattle remained in short supply. Cow supply was tight, with good weight and quality included to see an improvement in prices. Heavyweight bull supplies at Great Southern were limited to see competition improve.

More young cows

Vealers selling to lotfeeders moved to dearer levels with the state average up 12¢ on last week, to 229¢/kg. A pen of 11 vealer steers weighing 248kg at Great Southern reached a top of 257¢/kg. The best vealer steers at Muchea reached 253¢/kg. Vealer heifers averaged 208¢ at Muchea and 230¢/kg at Great Southern. Feeder yearlings also gained 12¢ to average 192¢/kg. Heavy yearlings were in improved condition at Muchea and averaged 188¢ while the limited numbers at Great Southern sold for 203¢/kg.

The heavy cow indicator rose 5¢ to 123¢/kg. There were plenty of young cows yarded at Muchea with the majority of these remaining in the system and returning to the paddock. Cow supplies at Muchea remained tight with very few heavy weights, as young light cows achieved high prices with a record of 156c/kg achieved for a line of Angus second calvers. The 426 calves sold in the appraisal sale at Muchea also sold to a very strong market.

Heavyweight bulls at Muchea were slightly cheaper however light bulls received very good competition to achieve dearer prices. The bull indicator finished at 194¢, up 28¢/kg on last week.

VIC weekly cattle summary

Strong demand

The supply of cattle eased slightly at MLA's NLRS reported markets, which sparked some very strong demand. From this came some exceptional results with some record prices being achieved. There was an expressive need for young cattle with processors unable to fill orders for butchers. Also impacting on prices is the need for lightweight vealers and calves for the white veal trade. Price rises of up to 15¢/kg or even better were recorded for vealers. While yearlings realised gains of 3¢ to 8¢/kg. This was not only being driven processors but also feeders, and restockers. The EYCI was 2.50¢ higher on Thursday compared to last week at 395.75¢/kg cwt.

Reports from the trade suggest that the lack of boxed meat from Queensland since the start of the year is aiding the strong competition. However, there were reports of this flow of meat re-commencing now that slaughter figures in Queensland have peaked at the highest levels for some years over the past couple of weeks.

Grown cattle have also recorded price gains similar to the young cattle. This was particularly evident at Wodonga where strong competition set the highest cow price for the state reaching 188.2¢/kg to return almost $1,300/head at Wodonga. Grown steer and bullock prices were excellent with some very good averages achieved, and once again Leongatha market set a very high dollar value with 900kg bullocks making 192¢/kg, or $1,728/head. Live weight prices were also boosted in the grown steer and bullock categories with heavy steers also at Wodonga topping at 230.2¢/kg.

Price climb

Calves and light and medium weight vealers made from 245¢ to 300¢ from trade buyers, while those to restockers reached 316¢/kg. The best quality B muscle vealer steers made between 225¢ and 245¢ with isolated sales to 256¢ to record average gains of 8¢ to 9¢/kg. The medium weight vealer heifers to slaughter reached 242¢ and averaged 225¢ as the heavy heifer vealers gained 6¢ to average 223¢/kg. Heavyweight yearling steers to slaughter sold 5¢ dearer mostly settling around 211¢ while feeders secured a sample at 210¢/kg. Medium heifer yearlings to feedlots gained 14¢ to average 220¢ while the heavyweights to the trade averaged 210¢ after reaching a top price of 239.2¢/kg.

The very good prices being paid for grown cattle certainly influenced a larger number of grown steers and bullocks into to physical sales. Prime C3 and C4 steers and bullocks made from 178¢ to 224.2¢/kg. The average price for grown steers of all weights was around 203¢/kg. Carcase weight prices for grown steers averaged 380¢ and the bullocks settled around 371¢/kg cwt. The better quality beef cows made over 153¢ as most other cows made between 125¢ and 168¢, to achieve a carcass weight price average of 329¢/kg.

SA weekly cattle summary

Smaller numbers

The much smaller yarding at the SA LE were generally good quality runs that sold to strong competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were not as active compared to recent weeks. Small numbers of vealer steers and heifers sold to wholesale and local butcher inquiry at generally dearer levels. A good quality selection of yearling steers attracted strong demand at improved rates. While the grown steers were dearer, the grown heifers, manufacturing steers and cows were cheaper.

Naracoorte's larger yarding sold to one of the strongest sales witnessed, as the operating SA, NSW and Victorian trade, one supermarket and processor buyers lifted their rates to dearer levels. This was despite many of the young cattle and grown steers lacking the desired finish, and also an increased number of pastoral bred cattle being offered. Feeder, backgrounding and restocker orders were also active and lifted their rates just to compete. Lightweight Angus vealer steers sold to a peak of 250¢, while yearling steers were keenly sourced with very few sales below the 200¢/kg mark. Despite the varying quality offered, grown steers had some supermarket interest assisting prices for medium weights.

Mt. Gambier's reduced numbers, and like Naracoorte, sold to very strong competition as generally dearer levels, with only isolated categories slightly cheaper. The large runs of over 875 grown steers sold to strong demand, particularly where dentition and weights suited. Millicent's numbers fell slightly and also sold to strong competition.

Improved prices

It has been a week of improving prices as numbers start to decline. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 208¢ to 250¢ or 4¢ to 13¢/kg dearer. Feeders and restockers sourced C1 and C2 steers from 200¢ to 230¢/kg, also at improved levels. Vealer heifers were unchanged to 13¢ dearer selling between 194¢ and 244¢/kg. Feeder, backgrounding and restocker activity on mainly lightweight heifers were from 205¢ to 236¢ or 9¢ to 12¢/kg dearer. Yearling steer C3 and B muscled sales were from 185¢ to 235¢ at rates 1¢ to 14¢/kg more. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 sales of medium and heavyweights were mainly from 185¢ to 222¢/kg to be basically unchanged.

Grown steers and bullocks were 1¢ to 10¢ dearer, with C3 to C5 sales 185¢ to 229¢/kg and mainly 335¢ to 405¢/kg cwt. Grown heifers sold mostly between 156¢ and 194¢ or around 4¢/kg cheaper. Friesian steers sold from 152¢ to 174¢ to be unchanged to 7¢/kg more. Beef D3 to C6 medium and heavy cows sold from 130¢ to 177¢ to be generally 1¢ to 7¢/kg dearer, or 290¢ to 340¢/kg cwt. The D1 to D3 Friesians sold from 121¢ to 165¢/kg also at improved prices.

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