Weekly Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
calendar icon 30 September 2011
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Numbers tighten

Further reasonable rain was recorded throughout much of the south parts of the state adding confidence and longevity to what is now looming as a good season. This is quite remarkable when it is remembered how late the season started in the south this year. Pasture levels have risen sharply and good levels of feed will now be taken into the summer months. This is in vast contrast to the seasonal conditions throughout the spring of last year.

With temperatures rising and increasing levels on sunshine pasture growth is now being tracked by weight and condition gain in cattle. Added to the good seasonal conditions is the relatively low stocking rates many producers are carrying. This is following the poor season of last year and the mass sell off that was witnessed at that time.

Conditions in the north remain good despite temperatures on the rise, which will shortly bring an end to mustering activity and the flow of cattle out of the north into southern markets.

Total numbers were again lower with falls at both Muchea and the Great Southern. There remained a reasonable volume of pastoral cattle in Muchea's yardings with fair numbers of steers, heifers, cows and bulls. Locally bred steer and heifer supplies were only moderate once again, while young store grades remained fair with fewer supplies of cows penned. Processor demand remained buoyant on slaughter quality grades and perhaps indicative of the tight volumes of prime cattle available.

Processor demand boisterous

Although slightly larger, vealer supplies remained relatively tight. Quality was fair and although there were more heavy weights the majority continued to remain light and medium weight. Local processor and restocker competition continued to be strong throughout the classes with solid price levels remaining in place for both sexes.

The relatively limited supplies of grass finished trade weight yearling steers and heifers recorded buoyant local trade competition that increased as the week progressed with both steers and heifers receiving gains of 15¢/kg with competition under pinned by a reasonable feeder activity. Yearling store quality and weight remained mixed as would be expected at this time of year. Despite this, restocker and feeder demand showed little change with very solid price levels recorded.

The small numbers of both local and pastoral grown steers and bullocks enjoyed increased processor competition and dearer prices levels. This trend also flowed onto the heavy weight grown heifers. There remained good quality and weight in cow classes. Processor demand cows was again aggressive throughout the week the average prices slightly higher than what was recorded recently.

VIC weekly cattle summary

Quality cattle short

Overall, supply was down by 10 per cent at markets reported by MLA's NLRS and it will be interesting to see how many cattle are yarded next week after the rains received across most of the state in the later parts of the week. Overall quality was mixed but the good quality cattle continued to be keenly sort by all buyers.

As trade buyers sorted through the meagre supply of vealers, better quality still made to 268¢/kg. Competition on the light and medium weight yearlings was strong as buyers looked to fill the void left by the small vealer numbers. This resulted in some high prices for supplementary fed yearlings. Feeder and restocker competition was noticeably improved on recent weeks as they purchased around 10 per cent of the young cattle offered which included a broader range of cattle.

Most young cattle indicators were firm to slightly cheaper. The EYCI at the completion of Thursday's markets was 393¢ which was down 9.25¢ on last week but remained 18.5¢/kg cwt above this time last year.

Processors were particularly active across the grown cattle categories with some of this due to the good quality bullocks and cows penned. Coupled with the falling exchange rate of the $A, demand from export processors was very strong.

The best competition was reserved for heavy steers and bullocks with prices ranging from firm to 6¢/kg dearer. While cows generally sold well, around 10 per cent of the cows offered were poor quality E muscle one score cows, this left the carcase weight price average almost 10¢ lower at 298¢/kg.

Bullocks dearer

Vealers accounted for just on 24 per cent of the young cattle penned. Most C muscle vealers in reasonable condition made between 200¢ and 250¢, with sales to a top of 268¢/kg. The supplementary fed yearlings mostly made between 210¢ and 255¢/kg, however the excellent quality penned over the past few weeks was absent. Because of the diverse quality offered the D muscle yearlings, particularly heifers, sold from 165¢ to 198¢/kg with restockers making there presence felt. Feedlots paid between 180¢ and 225¢/kg.

There was only a few medium weight grown steers offered and due to the strong demand for heavy grown steers prices reached 207¢/kg. Most made between 188¢ and 193¢/kg. Prime C muscle bullocks sold to a dearer trend after selling from 174¢ to 197¢ to average 190¢/kg.

Demand for good quality cows was strong, with most selling firm to dearer while the plainer condition cows sold to weaker demand. The good quality beef cows ranged from 155¢ to 168¢ with isolated sales to 175¢/kg. The better quality dairy cows made from 142¢ o 162¢ with the plainer lines making 90¢ to 140¢/kg.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Yardings back slightly

Cattle yardings at the physical markets reported by MLA's NLRS fell two per cent on last week, with yardings still at strong levels. Numbers were stronger at most markets early in the week, as producers responded to the higher prices of recent times.

However, with widespread rain forecast late in the week some producers optimistically withheld cattle. Both Forbes and Wagga penned significantly more cattle, with Wagga numbers shooting up to 3,500 head. The largest market was again Dubbo - with western cattle filling the bulk of numbers.

Restocking demand remained the shinning light of cattle markets, however prices trended lower as a large number of cattle were turned off in South Western Queensland. This contributed to the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) falling below 400¢/kg cwt for the first time in three weeks. Although, with much of the state receiving rainfall late in the week the direction of the cattle market may again change. This rain will further boost confidence in the rural sector going forward, with cropping and grazing enterprises alike set to benefit.

Competition remained strong in the physical markets with processors, feedlots and restockers all vying strongly for numbers. Domestic processor demand has strengthened, despite increasing numbers of trade steers begging to flow.

This was reflected in direct to works rates increasing yet again, with rises over the young cattle section in the vicinity of 5¢ to 10¢/kg cwt. Export grades were also dearer, which is encouraging given the uncertain economic conditions in Australia's export markets and slightly weaker A$.

Restocking market strong

Restockers and backgrounders remain the consistent driving force in the young cattle market. Light vealer steers to restock topped at 254¢ and averaged 237¢, while the heifer portion sold at 220¢/kg. A high amount of light yearling cattle suited to restockers are currently in the market, with producers happy to supply store cattle while the market is strong.

Light yearling steers to restock were firm on 232¢, while the portion to feed averaged 225¢/kg. Light heifers to restockers were two cents cheaper on 211¢, after sales reached 231¢/kg. Larger supplies meant medium yearling steers to feed eased three to 216¢, while the heavy C3 drafts to the trade mainly sold at 208¢/kg. The better quality C3 heavy yearling heifers topped at 238¢ and mostly made 195¢/kg.

The medium weight C3 lines to process topped at 197.6¢ and averaged 186¢/kg. Heavy steers were in solid numbers and sold to equally strong demand, with prices steady on 194¢/kg or $1,240/head. Bullocks topped at 203¢ and prices finished on 193¢/kg. Cow prices were mixed, with the medium pens firm to 5¢ dearer, with sales averaging from 149¢ to 156¢/kg. The heavy D4 section topped at 172¢ and settled closer to 159¢/kg.

SA weekly cattle summary

Similar numbers

There were contrasting numbered yardings, with the SA LE yarding more, Naracoorte less, with Mt. Gambier and Millicent having similar numbers.

The larger yarding and the mixed quality offered at the SA LE tended to generally sell to an easing trend provided by the regular trade, processor and feeder buyers. Feeder and restocker orders sourced suitable drafts of lightweight yearling steers at dearer levels, while other purchases followed the weaker trade prices. Most vealers penned were steers, with yearling steers and heifers making up the bulk of the yarding.

The few grown steers and grown heifers were cheaper. A larger yarding of cows featured many D2 medium weights that attracted solid restocker activity, with the balance selling to processors.

South East quality tended to improve on mainly heavier weight yardings that sold to fluctuating demand provided by most of the regular SA and Victorian trade, supermarket and processor buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were also active, albeit lacking recent week's intensity on larger lines.

The yardings featured mainly locally bred cattle with some lines being EU Accredited. However, there were small pockets of fresh quality pastoral bred vealers, yearlings and grown steers that had been finished on South East pastures.

While only isolated sales of vealers and most grown steers in good quality runs were unchanged to dearer, the rest of the yardings tended to sell at mainly lower prices despite the improved quality and the smaller numbers. It was interesting at times with some vealers were 25¢/kg lwt dearer than similar quality lines.

Erratic trends

It was a week of erratic market trends as all the operating buyers tried to lower their prices on all categories. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 193¢ to 275¢ at prices that varied from unchanged to 7¢ dearer, and 3¢ to 11¢/kg cheaper. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 lightweights from 205¢ to 230¢, with some sales dearer and others cheaper.

Vealer heifers to the trade sold generally between 175¢ and 265¢ to range from 1¢ to 15¢ dearer and 5¢ to 24¢/kg cheaper. Yearling steer C3 sales were from 174¢ to 226¢ with the B muscled 215¢ to 246¢, at prices generally 2¢ to 8¢/kg less.

Feeder purchases of C2 and C3 steers ranged between 164¢ and 212¢, or unchanged to 9¢/kg cheaper. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 sales of medium and heavyweights sold from 160¢ to 224¢ at prices 1¢ to 10¢/kg less.

Grown steer C3 to C5 sales were mainly from 175¢ to 198¢ to be unchanged to 5¢ cheaper, and generally 320¢ to 350¢/kg cwt. The D3 to C6 medium and heavyweight beef cows sold between 130¢ and 170¢ with isolated sales dearer and most others 1¢ to 12¢ cheaper, or 260¢ to 315¢/kg cwt.

QLD weekly cattle summary

Quality bullocks penned

Cattle numbers lifted seven per cent at physical markets covered by MLA's NLRS. The week began with hot and dry weather but concluded in a shower of rain across a wide area of the state. The quality of young light cattle was rather mixed, while most feeder and grown cattle were in fair to good condition. Yardings rose at the major cattle centres of Dalby and Roma, but, numbers penned at other livestock selling complexes declined slightly.

At Dalby, light young cattle were well supplied, while heavy yearlings were also plentiful, plus, grown cattle were also in big numbers. There yarding of export cattle consisted of a good supply of bullocks, steers, grown heifers and cows. The quality of the bullocks and steers was good with several runs of well finished crop and supplementary fed cattle offered. Cows on the other hand were fairly mixed with increased numbers of plainer grades.

At Roma, cattle were drawn from a very wide area across the state and also regions of north-west NSW. Yearling quality was mixed while good quality lines of bullocks were penned. Feeder weight yearling steers continued to receive strong competition from feeders, meanwhile good quality heavy weight yearling heifers to the domestic trade market continued to attracted solid demand from local and southern processors.

Light young yearling cattle struggled to maintain last week's prices as did yearling steers and heifers to the domestic trade market. Feeder classes improved in price as buyers battled to fill orders. Grown steers jumped in value, while medium and heavy cows held firm. Bulls to slaughter were in good supply and sold to a dearer trend.

Varied price trend

Once again a large portion of plainer calves were penned with D muscled lines selling to 222¢ and averaging 196¢, while C muscled lines made to 228¢ and averaged 216¢/kg. Most vealer steers sold to southern processors to a high of 229¢ with most sales closer to 207¢/kg. Meanwhile, a good number of vealer heifers were in the medium weight range and also made to 229¢ to averaged 208¢/kg to be unchanged on last week.

Light weight yearling steers returning to the paddock reached 262¢ and averaged 225¢kg. Good quality steers to the trade sold to 204¢ and averaged 196¢ which was slightly cheaper, while the heifer portion reached 223¢ to sell around 183¢, which was down 10¢/kg cwt.

A large number of medium weight yearling steers purchased by feeders sold to 234c with most closer to 209¢ which was 3¢/kg dearer. Heavy yearling steers to feed sold to 215¢ and averaged 192¢, as medium weight heifers to feed improved 4¢/kg to generally sell around 201¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers improved 2¢/kg and averaged 194¢/kg. Bullocks sold to 206¢ as most sold around 191¢/kg. Medium weight four score cows averaged 157¢ and heavy weight four score cows averaged 160¢/kg.

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