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 14 October 2011
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Yearlings dominate

With the disrupted week caused by a public holiday last week, it was not surprising that cattle supply across markets reported by MLA's NLRS increased 67 per cent.

Interestingly though a number of markets that did operate last week offered reduced numbers this week. When compared to the corresponding week in 2010, yardings were down at all markets except for Casino, which resulted in total throughput being 25 per cent less year on year.

Quality has remained mixed, with all centres having plainer lines suiting restocker or feeder orders along with the properly finished lots for slaughter. At some centres, the quality of the penning highlighted the lack of oats crops in the supply areas as pastures have responded slowly to recent rains.

As demand has been strong recently from restockers and feeders, producers are opting to offload young cattle, as they accounted for 65 per cent of state throughput. Yearlings dominated overall representing just on 50 per cent of the total numbers. Highlighting their strength, restockers and feeders to secure 67 per cent of the yearlings offered.

The regular field of buyers were present with extra orders evident at Forbes. Competition for the young cattle was strong for the finished lines as the weight of supply had a negative impact on the leaner lines.

Vealers were generally 3¢/kg either side of firm. Yearlings realised even greater variation.. Grown steers were mostly firm with the younger zero and two tooths attracting a premium of around 10¢/kg at a number of markets. Cows continued their solid run to be 1¢ to 3¢/kg dearer with the heavy weights recording the greater gains.

Varied prices

Light and medium weight vealer steers returning to the paddock mostly sold from 240¢ to 255¢ as medium weights the trade averaged 236¢/kg. Light vealer heifers to restockers sold around 234 as the medium weights to the trade closer 235¢¢/kg.

Large numbers of light yearling steers to restockers lifted 7¢ to 235¢ as those to feeders eased slightly to 225¢kg. The medium weights to feed also eased to 215¢ as those to slaughter lost 10¢ to average 220¢/kg. Heavy weights also sold to a cheaper trend to sell around 208¢kg.

The feeder heavy weights though went against the trend to be 8¢ dearer at 203¢/kg. The light yearling heifers to feeders and restockers mostly sold around 210¢ as medium weights to feed made closer to 200¢/kg. The medium and heavy weights to the trade were 4¢ and 6¢ cheaper respectively with most making from 194¢ to 212¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers to feed made around 194¢/kg. Most of the heavy grown steers were leaner lines which along with the C4s averaged 198¢/kg. Bullocks averaged 195¢ with sales to 212¢/kg. Medium weight D3 cows made to 176.2¢ to average 155¢/kg. The heavy cows topped at 178.2c with the D4s averaging 166¢/kg.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Supply unchanged

The turnaround in the weather pattern has resulted in rain events moving across the state on a weekly basis. Good falls of rain have been patchy however as each rain front moves through more districts are receiving useful falls. The scattered falls of rain has some effect on supply across the state with numbers up and down from centre to centre. Nevertheless total supply at all physical markets covered by MLA's NLRS remained unchanged.

Overall quality was good to useful with a fair representation of most categories. Not all export processors were in attendance, however a large number of restocker, feeder operators and trade buyers were present in the young cattle sections.

Young lightweight cattle continued to receive very strong demand from all buyers. The buying gallery contained extra feedlot buyers at Roma and very strong support and other selling centres helped boost prices for heavy weight yearling steers by up to 6¢/kg. Stronger demand from wholesalers and supermarkets lifted slaughter lines of yearling steers and heifers by around 4¢/kg.

Heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter at early and mid week markets generally experienced strong demand and a lift in the standard at Dalby saw average prices improve 3¢/kg. Nevertheless by late week markets the extra processor support enjoyed recently was not present and grown steers and bullocks declined 3¢ to 9¢/kg.

Cows experienced strong competition early in the week, however as the week progressed good heavy cows could not maintain the very high prices of the previous week and received reductions of 3¢ to 7¢/kg, with plain condition classes the least affected.

Cows cheaper

Calves to restockers made to 260.2¢ with most around 240¢, while a fair number of slaughter lines averaged 214¢/kg. A large supply of vealer heifers to the trade averaged close to 206¢ with the occasional well bred category to a local butcher reaching 249.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers to feed mostly sold around 230¢ with some to 251.2¢, while those returning to the paddock averaged 233¢ and sold to 263.2¢/kg.

Medium weight yearling steers to the trade averaged 198¢ and sold to 234.2¢/kg. A large sample of heavyweights to feed averaged 198¢, while a fair selection of slaughter classes averaged 4¢ better at 200¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers were well supplied and restocker lines averaged 216¢ and made to 235.2¢, and feeder lines made to 224¢ with most around 204¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter averaged 194¢ and sold to 204.2¢/kg. A good supply of bullocks averaged around 199¢ with a few pens to 209.2¢/kg. Medium weight three score cows remained unchanged at 145¢ while the better four scores lost 5¢ and generally sold around 154¢/kg.

Good heavy cows averaged 2¢ cheaper at 165¢ with a very occasional sale to 180.2¢/kg. Heavy bulls to slaughter sold to 178¢, with one well bred bull returning to the paddock at 270.2¢/kg.

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Grown cattle dearer

Even though it is the middle of October, supply has shown no significant signs of increasing, which would normally be expected for this time of year. Pakenham Monday was smaller with other markets only slightly larger which resulted in lift of just five per cent over all MLA's NLRS reported markets.

As has been the trend in recent weeks, quality across most markets was fair to good. Gippsland markets continue to record the highest prices for properly finished vealers and yearlings which came under good competition from local butchers and wholesalers, particularly from Melbourne, as the supply of young cattle up to 400kg lwt remains limited.

The balance of the young cattle sold to varying trends according to quality. By the end of the week, buyers had become more selective on heifers with some reasonably finished D muscle lines not selling to their full potential.

Overall young cattle sold to varied trends with some of the unfinished and plainer muscled lines suffering the greatest losses. With the larger percentage of C muscle young cattle moving only slightly in price, the EYCI at the completion of Thursdays markets lifted 0.50¢ week on week to 398.50¢/kg.

As exporters have increased their direct to works rates, demand at physical markets has lifted. This has been particularly evident for cattle weighing over 500kg lwt. Interstate competition is also noticeable on mouthed zero and two tooth grown steers. Prices increases have been from 3¢ to 8¢/kg. Cows also sold to dearer levels with most gains from 3¢ to 10¢/kg

Mixed young cattle prices

The top of the vealers and supplementary fed yearlings made between 250¢ and 280¢/kg. Most markets also had strong competition for the remaining finished yearling steers and heifers with a large percentage making from 190¢ to 230¢/kg. The plainer condition cattle sold between 160¢ and 210¢/kg.

Medium weight grown steers were in short supply as heavy C3s gained 8¢ to average 201¢ as the better covered four scores sold closer to 198¢ which was 7¢/kg dearer. The C3 and C4 bullocks mostly sold in the mid 190¢/kg range which was 5¢ dearer with sales to 211¢/kg. Heavy bullocks averaged 194¢/kg. The strong demand was also evident on grown heifers with heavy weights up to 9¢kg dearer.

Medium weight D3 beef cows improved 4¢ to average 154¢/kg. Heavy D3s sold around 160¢ as the D4s reached 179.2¢ to average 162¢/kg. The majority of the light cows were dairy lines which made from 110¢ to 126¢/kg.

The medium weight dairy cows were up to 5¢ dearer with the D1s averaging 136¢/kg. A large run of heavy dairy cows ranged from 143¢ to 150¢ with sales to 168.6¢/kg. Across the state, cows averaged 314¢/kg cwt. Heavy bulls made to 197.2¢ as most sold from 176¢ to 179¢/kg.

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Larger yardings

While there was a similar sized yarding at the SA LE despite no sale being held last week, Naracoorte and Mt. Gambier had increased numbers with Millicent having a slightly smaller yarding for its fortnightly sale.

The SA LE's mixed quality yarding sold to the usual trade and processor buyers in an erratically priced sale. Feeders and restockers tended to source mainly light and medium weight yearling steers, limited numbers of yearling heifers, while a draft of cows with fresh quality calves at foot at $1,300/unit.

Once again yearlings made up the greatest percentage of the yarding, as there were only limited numbers of vealers offered. The yearling steers were generally cheaper, with the heifer portion fluctuating. Grown steers including a few pastoral breds were basically unchanged, while most cows were slightly cheaper.

South East quality tended to improve in yardings containing local and pastoral bred young cattle, with some very good quality EU Accredited supplementary fed grown steers at Naracoorte and a magnificent run of grown steers and heavy bullocks at Mt. Gambier selling to very strong processor competition. The usual SA and Victorian trade and processor buyers were and operating, albeit with a couple on a limited basis.

Feeder and restocker orders were also active, with a large draft of Angus steers at Naracoorte from Broken Hill attracting restocker competition. Vealer steers in limited numbers sold up to 259¢, with lightweight vealer heifers reaching 270¢/kg. Yearling steers were cheaper, as were most of the yearling heifers. Grown steers were generally dearer, while cow prices tended to remain basically unchanged.

Young cattle cheaper

Most young cattle apart were cheaper, with the grown steers and bullocks generally dearer. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 195¢ to 259¢ to be mainly 2¢ to 10¢ cheaper. There were only isolated B muscle sales that were 4¢/kg dearer. Feeders and restockers sourced limited numbers of C1 and C2 lightweights from 180¢ to 216¢, or 7¢/kg cheaper.

Vealer heifers to the trade sold mainly from 190¢ to 250¢ with an isolated lightweight sale at 270¢/kg. This left selected sales up to 40¢ dearer, while most others were 2¢ to 16¢/kg cheaper. Yearling steer B and C-muscled sales ranged between 180¢ and 225¢ to be 5¢ to 9¢/kg less. Feeder and restocker orders sourced C2 medium and heavyweight steers from 170¢ to 214¢/kg. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 sales of medium and heavyweights were from 160¢ to 210¢ to be 5¢ to 7¢/kg cheaper.

The C3 to C6 grown steers and bullocks to strong demand sold from 175¢ to 215¢ to be generally 1¢ to 6¢ dearer, and were averaging 345¢/kg cwt statewide. Cow prices remained basically unaltered with D3 to C6 beef medium and heavyweights selling from 130¢ to 170¢, or 275¢ to 325¢/kg cwt.

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Rain in the south

The southern areas continue to enjoy a reasonable spring. Feed conditions in the majority of traditional cattle growing areas in the southern Agricultural districts are healthy with good pasture levels throughout. Conditions in the pastoral areas remain solid also with the majority of mustering having now already taken place, even though agents are reporting solid activity throughout the Gascoyne region.

Rainfall in the south was wide spread and erratic due to the thunderstorm nature of the weather pattern. There has been an increase in hay making activity recently, but having said this, the lower prices being offered for hay this year and the increased volumes from better seasonal conditions has caused many producers prefer to leave their crops standing in order to now harvest them as grain crops.

Physical market supplies increased marginally due to larger supplies at the Great Southern, while Muchea's supplies were similar to the previous week. The volumes of pastoral cattle continued to dominate Muchea's yarding with the volumes of locally produced cattle remaining tight. Overall the supplies of new season vealers remained limited with only fair numbers of grass fed trade weight yearlings offered.

Heavy weight steer and grown heifer supplies were also negligible, while the very strong demand for cows continues to see very solid supplies forwarded to physical markets. It has been noted that the small numbers of grass cattle left in WA following on from the poor season of last year are dwindling quickly at this continues to influence strong demand.

Processor demand aggressive

Although remaining relatively limited there was a slight increase in the numbers of new season vealers offered and well below those penned at the same time last year. Demand from all sectors of the market remains very buoyant irrespective of sex, quality or weight with strong price levels again recorded.

The relatively limited supplies of grass finished trade weight yearling steers and heifers in physical markets were of a fair average quality. Local processor and retailer demand for these remains very solid with both sexes enjoying firm to slightly dearer prices comparative to last week. Yearling store quality remained mixed. Demand however continued at strong levels with little or no change realised in market prices.

Heavy weight steer, bullock and grown heifer values continued strongly also under solid processor demand. There was some good quality and weight evident in local cows. This was offset by lesser quality and weight in pastoral drafts. Processor demand started the week at higher levels, but this did weaken marginally as the week progressed.

Overall though prices remain very healthy and in the vendors favour. A similar situation was also recorded in heavy weight bull sales.

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