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 March 2011
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

VIC weekly cattle summary

Numbers up

MLA's NLRS reported markets recorded a lift in supply as all markets operated following the public holiday affected trading last week. However, the extra supply did not stem demand, which was very strong for majority of cattle offered. This was highlighted by the EYCI, which climbed 12.00¢ higher week on week and reached a new record of 420.75¢/kg cwt at the completion of Thursday's markets.

There is strong demand for trade cattle and in particular vealers which reached 271.6¢kg. It appears as though prime market prices are catching up to recent weaner and store sales most young cattle have been making an estimated 220¢ to 290¢/kg lwt. Competition has been from the regular field of buyers including feeders, restockers and processors and all sectors have been very active in an attempt to procure numbers. The onset of live export activity on heifers though is depleting opportunities for herd rebuilding.

While prices for young cattle lifted 3¢ to 10¢/kg, grown cattle have been firm to 5¢/kg dearer across a broad range of cattle. Part of the higher prices for grown cattle was due to the good quality available. Plenty of the grown steers and bullocks have been displaying excellent weight and condition. The cow offering has been more mixed with several plain light lines sold.

Quality overall was good but is starting to be more mixed as the seasonal conditions change. The cooler nights combined with warm humid days are taking their toll on some cattle. The heavy rain over parts of Gippsland during the week would also not have helped.

Prices climb

Large numbers of good quality B muscle vealers made from 255¢ to 272¢/kg and this included some carrying plenty of weight. The C muscle vealers generally sold from 220¢ to 260¢/kg. There was strong competition from all sectors on the yearlings which resulted in the steer portion averaging almost $940/head. Most yearling steers made from 200¢ to 245¢ for pasture fed lines as some supplementary fed lines reached 259¢/kg. Light yearling steers to feed averaged 224¢/kg. Yearling heifers made mostly from 195¢ to 245¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers made to 239.6¢/kg at Shepparton. Fewer heavy steers and bullocks were penned, and most made from 195¢ and 216¢ with most closer to 211¢/kg. At Ballarat a pair of manufacturing steers weighing over 950kg lwt returned 185¢/kg or $1,809/head.

Cow prices continued to climb with better quality beef cows making 158¢ to 185.5¢/kg. The leaner cows also meet good competition and sold from 135¢ to 165¢/kg. Heavyweight D1 dairy cows were 1¢ dearer averaging 147¢ as the 2 scores made 161¢, a lift of 8¢/kg. A sample of light cows to restockers averaged 177¢/kg. The carcass weight price average for cows was around 335¢/kg. The top of the bulls made to 196¢/kg.

SA weekly cattle summary

Increased numbers

While numbers remained similar at the SA LE in mixed quality runs, the improved prices being paid in the South East last week drew larger numbers out of the paddocks. The SA LE's yarding sold to very strong local butcher, wholesale and processor competition, as that sale caught up to the good prices being paid in the South East and inter state. Feeder and restocker orders were also very active but were thwarted in securing large numbers due to many yearling steers being heavyweights. Vealers were in small numbers, with lightweight yearling steers selling mainly to feeder activity at much dearer levels. Limited numbers of grown steers were dearer, as were cows in small lines.

Despite some heavy rain in the South East, Naracoorte's numbers increased and sold to solid trade, limited supermarket and processor competition from the majority of regular SA and interstate buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were also active and sourced a mixture of vealer and yearling steers and heifers, and small numbers of grown steers. There were good quality runs of pastoral bred steers and heifers offered with many being Droughtmasters from WA.

Mt. Gambier's yarding was also larger but quality is slipping. However, this didn't deter buyers with B muscled vealer steers, and all breeds of cows attracting dearer prices in a generally erratically sale. Yearlings and some grown steers were cheaper.

With numbers falling last week Millicent has now gone into its fortnightly mode with the next sale on March 31st.

Strong competition

There was strong competition for all categories, albeit at fluctuating prices at times. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 220¢ to 264¢ at prices unchanged to 3¢/kg dearer. Feeder and restocker orders sourced C and B muscled light and medium weights from 205¢ to 259¢/kg at improved prices. Vealer heifers to the trade sold mainly between 220¢ and 260¢ with some sales 1¢ to 5¢ cheaper, and others 1¢ to 3¢/kg dearer. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 and C3 heifers from 223¢ to 240¢/kg. Yearling steer C3 sales of mainly heavyweights were between 190¢ and 237¢ to be 6¢/kg less. Heavy C3 and C4 yearling heifers followed suit selling from 180¢ to 235¢ or 1¢ to 2¢/kg lower.

Grown steer C3 and C4 sales were from 194¢ to 238¢, with medium weights slightly cheaper and the heavy C4 sales 10¢/kg dearer as carcase weight prices averaged just over 380¢/kg cwt. Beef D3 to C6 medium and heavyweight cows sold from 140¢ to 180¢ with a single Limousin at 188¢/kg. Dairy D1 to D4 sales were from 116¢ to 169¢ that left most cows unchanged to 4¢ dearer and only isolated sales cheaper, and mainly 290¢ to 350¢/kg cwt.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Numbers slide

Cattle supply at MLA's NLRS reported physical markets fell 8% compared to last week with throughput varying from market to market. Numbers were down significantly at Gunnedah with 27% less cattle offered, while at Goulburn numbers were almost halved due to the district receiving heavy rainfall in the 24 hours preceding the sale. On the other hand Dubbo had a significant increase in numbers with 23% more cattle yarded. Wagga was the only other market to record an increase in numbers.

The composition of some yardings is changing with more vealers starting to be offered. Vealer steers made up 10% of the states offering while the vealer heifers contributed a similar amount. The majority of the vealer steers were keenly contested by restockers and were returned to the paddock while 77% of the heifers went to the trade. Yearling steers remained the dominant group of the young cattle accounting for 19% while the supply of yearling heifers dropped 14% compared to last week.

Competition increased across all the categories as buyers scrambled to secure numbers. Due to the lack of cattle available in Queensland buyers from north of the border were also active and there was also additional competition from a southern processing order at Armidale and Dubbo. The extra buyer support helped push prices to higher levels and resulted in the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) reaching a new record after Thursday's markets at 420.75¢/kg cwt.

Quality has been mixed with some young cattle showing the signs of summer grass having dried off. Most grown cattle remain in excellent condition.

Prices continue strong run

Most categories experienced further price gains, boosted by the extra competition after widespread rain in Queensland forced the cancellation of Roma store sale and reduced all the other yardings.

Light vealer steers to restockers reached 296¢ and averaged 271¢/kg. The medium weights made 254¢ and those to the trade averaged 245¢. Light heifer vealers selling to the trade lifted 17¢ and averaged 255¢ and the medium weights gained 5¢ to 237¢/kg. Light yearling steers to the paddock lifted 3¢ to 235¢, medium weights to feed averaged 222¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed were firm around 217¢ as those to slaughter made 216¢/kg. Light heifers to feed and restock were firm on 212¢ as the medium weights to feed averaged 216¢/kg. Heavy trade heifers gained 6¢ to 214¢/kg.

Medium grown steers to feed were firm on 199¢ after reaching 214¢/kg. Heavy 3 score grown steers lifted 7¢ to 208¢ while the 4 score bullocks experienced a gain of 12¢ to 206¢/kg. Medium 2 score cows were 4¢ dearer on 149¢ and the 3 scores averaged 158¢/kg. Heavy 3 cows were3¢ dearer averaging 166¢ while the 4 scores were marginally cheaper on 167¢ after achieving a top 181c/kg.

QLD weekly cattle summary

Rain reduces supply

Widespread rain over the supply areas resulted in some districts being water logged again and this was reflected in supply dropping 60%. The Roma store sale was cancelled due to rain, however even with a couple of dry days, numbers at the Roma prime sale were down by close to 70%.

A large panel of buyers was present at markets and included all the major export processors with most displaying urgency to purchase stock. Values generally improved across the board with the smaller numbers putting upward pressure on prices. Restocker grades experienced the largest increases with values improving as the week progressed, with calves and vealer steers at Dalby 20¢ to 30¢/kg dearer. Feeder grades also continued to improve in price and a large sample of heavy grades averaged 10¢/kg better. Despite the relatively good supply, large volume feeder buyers were still keen enough to operate on single sales. The dearer trend followed through to the slaughter grades and stronger supermarket and wholesale support lifted values a further 4¢ to 5¢/kg, with some extra heavy grades in Toowoomba attracting some export competition as well.

Heavy steers and bullocks commence the week on a dearer trend and climbed further as the week progressed with end of week markets recording improvements of up to 14¢/kg. Cows also generally enjoyed price improvements, however across all markets average price gains were confined to 1¢ to 3¢/kg.

The price for grain sorghum firmed a little in-line with futures markets, however uncertainty in various parts of the world continues to play apart in determining price.

All classes dearer

Calves to restockers made to 278.2¢, with most from 248¢ to 271¢, and slaughter lines averaged close to 243¢/kg. Vealer steers to the trade averaged 226¢, while restocker lines improved 18¢ to average 254¢ with sales to 267.2¢/kg. A fair sample of vealer heifers to local and interstate processors averaged 12¢ better at 228¢ and sold to 254.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to restockers lifted in value by 17¢ to average close to 240¢ with sales to 259.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 219¢ and a large selection of heavy weights averaged 10¢ dearer at 210¢ with one consignment of 278 head realising 216.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 206¢ and slaughter grades 203¢ with sales to 232.2¢/kg. A good supply of heavy weights to the supermarket chain averaged 5¢ better at 197¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter across all markets averaged 6¢ dearer at 196¢ with sales to 210.2¢/kg. Bullocks improved 8¢ to average 198¢ and sold to 208.2¢, with a few heavy bullocks making to 204.2¢/kg. Medium weight 3 score cows averaged close to 146¢, while good heavy cows made to the very occasional 187.2¢ with most at 166¢/kg.

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