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 3 May 2011
clock icon 7 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Overall numbers retreat

While numbers remained quite similar last Monday at the SA LE, Naracoorte's numbers fell by around half last Tuesday after a couple of buyers indicated that they had enough cattle for the short kill weeks.

Quality improved at the SA LE and sold to strong trade and processor competition from most of the usual buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were very active as they sourced vealers and yearlings, together with D2 light and medium weight cows. Only a few vealers were penned and sold mainly to the trade at basically unchanged rates. Most yearling steers were light and medium weights which mostly sold to feeder activity, with the trade purchasing the balance. Yearling heifers attracted strong demand, including good quality lines of pastoral breds. Only small numbers of export cattle were penned, with cow prices were dearer as restocker orders added to the solid demand.

Naracoorte's yarding featured mixed quality runs with many cattle needing more time to finish. However, solid feeder and restocker demand witnessed the trade lifting their sights on the young cattle, while the grown steers, grown heifers and cows offered tended to lose ground. The large number of pastoral bred bulls finished mainly with a Victorian processor.

This week at Mt. Gambier's a reduced yarding sold to solid trade and processor competition at generally lower rates, with feeder and restocker orders active on suitable young cattle. While at Millicent agents yarded 800 fewer for its fortnightly sale and featured mixed quality runs of mainly young cattle and cows.

Erratic demand

With not all buyers operating it only led to erratic demand and fluctuating priced trends. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 228¢ to 265¢ at rates basically unchanged to 5¢/kg dearer. Feeder and restocker orders sourced C1 and C2 steers from 228¢ to 275¢, or unchanged to 3¢/kg more. Vealer heifers to the trade sold mainly between 219¢ and 266¢, with some sales marginally dearer and most others unchanged to 10¢/kg cheaper. Yearling steer C3 and B3 sales including pastoral breds sold from 210¢ to 260¢ to vary from 4¢ dearer, and 5¢ to 7¢/kg cheaper. Yearling heifer C3 medium and heavyweight sales were mainly from 185¢ to 235¢ at prices 7¢ to 13¢/kg cheaper, with isolated B muscled sales dearer peaking at 248¢/kg.

The better quality medium and heavy grown steers were 8¢ to 21¢ cheaper selling from 180¢ to 218¢/kg, or around 360¢/kg cwt. Most beef D3 and C3 medium and heavyweight cows sold from 143¢ to 188¢ at rates varying from 3¢ to 9¢ less, and 3¢ to 10¢/kg dearer and mainly 290¢ to 350¢/kg cwt. Friesian D1 to D3 were from 121¢ to 163¢ or 2¢ to 20¢ cheaper and averaging around 310¢/kg cwt.

VIC weekly cattle summary

Disrupted supply

The disrupted recent weeks have meant that processors had to manage supply, and workers to meet a difficult time selling meat. Over the past two weeks just 10,500 cattle were offered at MLA's NLRS reported markets and only one third of these yarded after Easter. Retail sales have been affected by the reduced opening hours, and the large number of people away on holidays.

Apart from direct to works rates, the only cattle prices at physical markets that held firm this week were vealers, although failing quality and the holiday issues resulted in the other cattle categories selling to a cheaper trend. There is plenty of grass in paddocks, but nights are cold, and coupled with varying weather conditions cattle quality is starting to fall noticeably. This was particularly evident at the reduced number of markets after Easter.

There will be no EYCI calculated until next week when all markets have resumed, while the rest of the Eastern States Daily Indicators have realised a fall of between 1c and 4c/kg for all categories. Vealers are in short supply, particularly the finished good quality lines, prices were solid for these, but some of the plainer vealers, and some yearlings, sold to less feedlot competition with inductions not occurring over the break. This aided some of the price reductions.

Not all export processors have re-commenced work yet, and this led to weaker competition for grown steers and cows. No doubt, the increasing value of the A$ against world currencies is also impacting on exporters.

Cheaper trend

There are still a handful of excellent quality vealers being yarded, and these have made from 250¢ to 272¢/kg. These have had a potential to deliver a very high meat yield, which effectively makes them not as dear at the wholesale level as the next run of vealers that are making 230¢ to 260¢/kg. In the week of Easter, some very good sales of Angus steers to feeders were from 210¢ to 232¢/kg. The rest of the yearling steers were mostly between 195¢ and 228¢ with isolated sales of supplementary fed steers to 256¢/kg. The plainer yearling heifers have ranged from anywhere between 175¢ and 210¢/kg.

Grown cattle prices suffered regular falls of 3¢ to 7¢/kg with some of this due to plainer quality. Grown steers made to 224¢, and averaged 209¢ as prime C muscle bullocks made to 210¢ with most sales closer to 202¢/kg. Grown heifers averaged around 178¢/kg, which was in line with the best quality European breed cows. Most of the better quality cows made from 155¢ to 168¢ as the plainer cows sold from 125¢ to 152¢/kg. The carcass weight price average was estimated to be 321¢/kg.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Throughput mixed after Easter

The Easter and ANZAC day holiday break had a significant impact on cattle throughput in the physical markets, with several markets only selling once in the past fortnight. Despite the disruptions supply levels were generally good, while quality continues to be mixed with the changing season. Of the markets to sell this week Casino penned greater numbers, while throughput was similar at Armidale. Dubbo was the largest market with around 2,500 cattle penned.

With the short trading week some trade buyers were cautious and adopted a wait and see approach, anticipating the market will find some direction after the long break. Additionally, most processors booked in enough consignments to compensate for reduced supply form the physical markets. With demand not overly high for the reduced kill space. Feeder and restocker orders remained prominent on young cattle, with the inconsistent quality offering ample buying opportunities.

Young cattle quality was again mixed, a higher proportion of under conditioned lines being offloaded prior to winter. It is the time of year where producers make choices in relation to holding onto cattle over the winter - and it seems some are selling while the market is strong. Many producers are also busy sowing pastures and crops after the recent rain many of which look promising.

Over the hook rates were firm as processors chose not adjust their grids due to the short week. Reports coming from the market suggest that plenty of cattle are going direct, resulting in the firm trend. Feeder rates were also unchanged, as feedlot numbers are reportedly improving after the slow start to the year.

Mixed price signals

Large runs of medium weight vealer steers to restockers were 4¢ to 10¢ cheaper with most making from 231¢ to 241¢/kg. Heavy vealer steers returning to the paddock generally made around 233¢ and the portion to feed topped at 239¢/kg. A large run of vealer heifers to slaughter were firm to 2¢ dearer, mainly selling from 225¢ tom 237¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers to feeders eased 4¢ to average 220¢ as restockers paid closer to 208¢/kg. Heavyweights to feeders improved 4¢ with most making 215¢, however those to the trade eased slightly to 212¢/kg. Light yearling heifers to restockers dropped 12¢ to 205¢, while the medium weights to feed settled around 211¢/kg. Medium and heavy yearling heifers to the trade mostly ranged from 204¢ to210¢/kg.

A good sized run of medium weight grown steers to feed eased 6¢ to 179¢, while medium weights to export slaughter sold 8¢ cheaper on 186¢/kg. The C3 heavy grown steers slipped 5¢ to 199¢ as a small sample of 4 scores averaged 187¢/kg. Bullocks were 3¢ to 7¢ lower, averaging 191¢/kg. Medium D3 cows averaged were in reduced numbers and averaged 148¢ as heavy D4s sold closer to 160¢/kg.

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