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 April 2011
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

VIC weekly cattle summary

Quality starts to slip

Supply was varied over all of the markets reported by MLA's NLRS. Wodonga, Shepparton and Leongatha all recorded a rise in supply with the two northern markets lifting significantly. However, other markets all recorded smaller numbers, which overall resulted in a slight increase to the sate total of around 3 per cent.

There are still some very good quality cattle being offered across all categories, although it is very apparent that quality is declining. This has had a negative effect on prices as falls of 3¢ to 7¢/kg were realised because of the plainer condition of cattle. Some prices falls were also related to breeding with producers offloading a number of dairy and dairy cross cattle to capture the high prices.

There was however some properly finished cattle which managed to sell to slightly dearer levels. In some districts, the vealers season is drawing to a close, while in Gippsland it is well under way. Competition remains strong between feedlots and restockers, however, they were able to purchase a broader range of quality. The EYCI was only .025c/kg lower week on week to be 418.25¢/kg cwt at the completion of Thursdays markets.

There was a rise in grown steer and bullock numbers, and a very good representation of cows were also penned. Prices were affected by quality changes here also, but strong demand led to good prices. Increased supplies of cows included a number of pregnancy tested empty cows with the local weaner sales now finished.

Mixed prices

Most vealers made 215¢ to 260¢ with only a few sales to 274¢/kg. Strong competition for lightweight vealers and calves saw a top price of 311¢/kg paid by producers for calves. The C muscle yearling steers and heifers averaged unchanged, as the steers made from 200¢ to 250¢, and heifers ranged from 190¢ and 245¢/kg. The D muscle heifers sold from 185¢ to 210¢ with dairy breeds and their crosses making 150¢ to 188¢/kg.

There was plenty of attention placed on the larger offering of grown steers, bullocks and manufacturing steers. Over 1,000 grown steers were offered across NLRS reported sales with the top price being 232¢/kg. Most made from 196¢ to 225¢ to average 210¢/kg. Prime bullocks made from 190¢ to 218¢/kg, but a reasonable number were very heavy, which attracted a small discount.

Better quality beef cows made between 160¢ and 190¢, and a large number of Friesian cows made 145¢ to 178¢/kg. Coupled with lean 1 score cows selling from 115¢ to 152¢, the carcass weight price average was 328¢/kg. A surge in bull prices resulted in top quality heavy weights making to 210¢/kg.

SA weekly cattle summary

Slightly smaller numbers

There were mixed quality yardings on slightly smaller numbers as many cattle producers capitalised on the good prices paid recently. However, this has only led to erratic trends materialising as most buyers tried to lower their prices on all categories.

The SA LE numbers dropped but featured more heavyweights. The usual trade and processor buyers were operating, with feeder and restocker numbers boosted by additional orders from the South East and Eyre Peninsula who were sourcing mainly lightweight young cattle. Local butchers were also active on limited numbers of vealers steers and heifers. Heavyweight yearling steers were cheaper, with the heifer portion being slightly dearer. Restockers sourced plain D2 light and medium weight cows at dearer levels, while processors sourced the balance at slightly improved rates.

Naracoorte's numbers declined and featured varying quality runs that sold to fluctuating demand. This was from the usual SA and interstate trade and processor buyers, with limited supermarket activity on suitably weighted grown steers. Feeder and restocker orders were also active as they sourced a mixture of vealer, yearling and grown steers, as well as vealer and yearling heifers and lightweight bulls.

Mt. Gambier also had a slightly smaller yarding that sold to solid competition from most of the usual SA and interstate buyers, with vealers and cows attracting the strongest demand at dearer levels, while the other categories tended to fluctuate. The large run of grown steers and bullocks featured many that were requiring more to finish to desired levels.

Fluctuating trends

Due to the varying quality offered there were fluctuating trends. Vealer steers to the trade on mainly C muscled light and medium weights were from 225¢ to 261¢ at prices 1¢ to 4¢/kg dearer. Feeder and restocker orders sourced C2 steers from 225¢ to 260¢ at rates 7¢ to 22¢/kg cheaper than last week's extreme prices. Vealer heifers to the trade sold from 218¢ to 260¢/kg with lightweights at the higher end. This left most sales unchanged to 3¢ dearer for the C muscled, and 4¢ to 5¢/kg cheaper for the few B muscled. Yearling steer heavyweight C3 sales were mainly between 200¢ and 246¢ to be basically unchanged. Feeders and restockers sourced a wide range of weights from 189¢ to 235¢/kg at generally lower levels. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweights sold from 201¢ to 235¢/kg with some sales dearer and others slightly cheaper.

Grown steer C3 and C4 sales were mainly between 185¢ and 230¢, with the heavy steers basically unchanged while being 6c/kg cheaper for the medium weights. This left most carcase weight prices 350¢ to 415¢kg. Beef D3 to C6 medium and heavy cows sold from 140¢ to 185¢, or 295¢ to 350¢/kg cwt.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Throughput lifts

There have been reports that the season has deteriorated in the north of the state and the Hunter regions in particular because of a lack of rain over recent weeks. As a result numbers picked up 16 per cent at MLA's NLRS reported physical markets compared to last week. Some producers have opted to offload cattle while prices are strong and before autumn sets in and has a negative effect on quality and condition. The biggest lifts in supply were recorded at Gunnedah, Tamworth and Wagga where yardings increased 40 per cent, 54 per cent and 43 per cent respectively. Dubbo was the only market to have a lower throughput although there were still more than 5,000 head presented.

As would be expected heading into the cooler months, young cattle accounted for the majority of the increase in the yarding. There were 27 per cent more vealer steers and 16 per cent more vealer heifers. Yearling steer offerings increased 27 per cent while the number of yearling heifers fell marginally. Grown cattle numbers were down with 11 per cent fewer grown steers sold and cow numbers were reduced 10 per cent.

Quality has become more variable over the last few weeks as the seasonal conditions change. All the usual feeder and processor buyers were active along with restocker demand which remains strong on young cattle and suitable cows. Restockers accounted for 85 per cent of vealer steers and 24 per cent of the yearling steers. Feeders were also eager to secure numbers - buying 60 per cent of yearling steers and 43 per cent of the heifer portion.

Over the hooks rates were dearer for all categories due to a processor increasing rates as the supply of suitable cattle tightens.

Prices generally ease

Most categories sold to an easing trend with more cattle yarded and quality also having an influence in some instances. Light vealer steers returning to the paddock averaged 269¢ as the medium weights eased 7¢ to 254¢/kg. Light heifers vealers to the trade were 12¢ cheaper at 237¢ and the medium weights averaged 232¢/kg. Light yearling steers were 5¢ dearer settling around 236¢ as the medium weights to feed gained 2¢ to 225¢/kg. Heavyweight feeder steers were 4¢ cheaper around 214¢ as those to slaughter realised 219¢/kg. Light yearling feeder heifers were 2¢ cheaper, making 219¢ and the medium weights eased 5¢ to 213¢/kg. Heavy heifers to slaughter reached a top of 235¢ but averaged 3¢ lower at 209¢/kg.

Medium grown steers to feeder buyers averaged between 196¢ and 205¢/kg. Heavyweight 3 scores made 206¢ and the bullocks averaged 194¢/kg. A large sample of grown heifers were 5¢ dearer averaging 192¢/kg. Medium 2 score cows to slaughter were 7¢ cheaper on 147¢ while those returning to the paddock made 148¢/kg. Medium 3 score cows were 5¢ cheaper on 154¢ after reaching 171¢/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 scores were 3¢ cheaper averaging 164¢/kg.

QLD weekly cattle summary

Numbers remain high

The fine cool weather helped to maintain the supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLA's NLRS at close to last weeks high level. However numbers declined at the Roma store sale after the bottleneck of cattle held over due to the wet weather slowly made its way to market. The supply of stock at Longreach was again substantially higher, with the dry weather enabling producers to market delayed cattle.

Values for young cattle generally remains strong, nevertheless buyers are becoming more selective and poorer quality lines are receiving less competition. Well bred restocker grades improved further as the positive seasonal conditions continues across a large portion of the state. Light and medium weight yearling steers and heifers to feed generally maintained the strong demand experienced in previous weeks. However values for the heavy classes of yearling steers to feed averaged 4¢/kg less as supply lifted a further 11 per cent and feedlot pens start to fill up.

Despite the absence of some export processors at markets early in the week values for heavy steers and bullocks managed to improved in places. As the week progressed and a return into the market by most export buyers, prices generally remained very solid as processors absorbed the increase in supply of 27 per cent. Values for cows varied at markets early in the week due to the decreased buyer support contributing to a loss in value of 2¢ to 3¢/kg. However similar to the bullocks, a return of all major exporter processors into the market by mid week managed to keep values very close to the previous weeks levels.

Young cattle dearer

Calves to restockers made to the occasional 288.2¢ with most 2¢ dearer at 252¢/kg. Vealer steers to feed averaged 235¢, and restocker grades made to 270.2¢, with a fair sample at 247¢/kg. The good supply of vealer heifers averaged 5¢/kg better at 227¢ with sales to 244.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock improved 4¢ to average 232¢ and sold to 264.2¢/kg. Medium weight grades to feed reached 238.2¢ with a good sample at 217¢/kg. Around 1,660 heavy yearling steers to feed lost 4¢ to average 202¢ with the occasional pen to 218.2¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed were well supplied and averaged 202¢ and made 225.2¢/kg. Heavy yearling heifers suited to the supermarket trade averaged 8¢ dearer at 195¢ with some to 222.2¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter made to a top of 203.2¢ with most around 194¢/kg. The large supply of bullocks also made to 203.2¢ to average 195¢ with some heavy grades returning $1584/head. Restockers were very active in the cow portion and a large consignment of crossbred Brahman cows PTIC topped at 184c/kg to average 182c/kg. Medium weight 3 scores to processors averaged 147c and 4 scores 163c/kg. Heavy cows made to 177.2¢ to average 163¢/kg.

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