Weekly Australian 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 11 May 2012
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

West Australia

Larger pastoral supplies

There was solid rainfall across the previous weekend and into the early parts of this week that has bought the break to the growing season. Falls of up to 45mm were recorded throughout much of the agricultural regions and with the temperatures currently remaining warm there has been a very solid germination in paddocks. Conditions in the north of the state continue to reasonable with the more moderate temperatures now allowing full access to mustering with this occupation now in full swing.

Saleyard numbers varied this week. Muchea’s numbers continued to rise due to larger volumes of cattle sourced from the northern pastoral regions. The southwest sales were small with only 200 head penned for sale, while the Great Southern sale at Mt Barker saw further constriction in it’s yarding. This constriction in cattle volumes sourced from the southern Agricultural regions will continue as further rainfall is received and feed levels increase as is usual at this time of year.

The supplies of heavy weight local steers and heifers remained very tight in physical markets. This was also the case in trade weight yearlings, both grass finished and grain assisted. Cow volumes, particularly local drafts were sold in considerably lower volumes this week with heavy weight bull numbers also more constricted. These lower supplies were however offset by the increased supplies of pastoral grades with these being of a solid quality. There were also very good supplies of reasonable quality local store yearlings available.

Processor demand increases

Vealers were again confined to calf weights. Demand from the local trade and retailers, which continued to be under pinned by restocker interest, saw very solid conditions remain in these categories.

The limited volumes of grain assisted trade weight local yearling steers and heifers recorded a stronger local trade competition. This created dearer values in both sexes and all weight categories. The supplies of grass finished trade weight yearlings were all but non-existent with quality generally only moderate. The majority of these were purchased by the feeder sector at slightly dearer price levels. The solid supplies of local store yearlings enjoyed an increased competition from both the feeder and restocker sectors. All grades and categories recorded dearer prices.

The prices for heavy weight steers, bullocks and heifers, both local and pastoral drafts received stronger demand. The smaller supplies of cows penned this week enjoyed a further increase in processor demand. This stronger demand saw prime heavy weight sales rise a further 2 to 3c/kg peaking at 161c/kg lwt. Heavy weight bull prices also increased due to a stronger processor demand with rates in the Great Southern up to 15¢/kg lwt dearer.

New South Wales

Supply lifts

Yardings increased 38% again as the majority of centres reported by MLA’s NLRS offered greater numbers. Gunnedah recorded the largest yarding since November last year while CTLX was one of the largest prime markets since the market commenced. The firm to dearer trend of recent weeks along with fine weather in some parts of the state as well as the approaching winter were factors behind supply increasing.

The trend of mixed quality was again evident. The better end of the slaughter cattle had generally had access to supplementary feeding or were crop finished. Competition was from the recent panel of buyers although at Wagga not all the usual feeder buyers were in attendance. Armidale late in the week was also missing a number of regular orders. Young cattle accounted for 68% of the states throughput with greater numbers of vealers penned. Cows accounted for almost 60% of the grown cattle.

Trade cattle were firm to dearer while later in the week a cheaper trend was evident. Even though some processors are booked a week or two in advance with direct cattle, those meeting specifications were firm to 8¢/kg dearer with the yearlings receiving the largest gains.

Solid demand has been evident across the eastern states as well. This was highlighted by the EYCI climbing 0.25¢ to 374.25¢/kg cwt at the completion of Thursday’s markets.

Most of the grown steers offered were heavy weights which improved 1¢ to 6¢/kg as the bullock portion were fully firm. The light and medium weight cows to processors were firm to dearer however the heavy weights sold to a mixed trend.

A dearer trend

Large numbers of medium weight vealer steers were purchased by restockers from 212¢ to 216¢ with sales to 244.2¢/kg. Medium and heavy weights to the trade range from 202¢ to 213¢/kg. Medium and heavy weight vealer heifers to the trade ranged from 198¢ to 202¢ with the heavy weights making to a top of 233¢/kg. Medium weight C3 yearling steers to the trade gained 8¢ to 207¢ as the heavy C3s improved 2¢ to 196¢/kg. Medium and heavy weights to feeders ranged mostly from 190¢ to 197¢ to be up to 5¢/kg dearer. Light and medium weight yearling heifers to feeders were firm to 10¢ dearer however some of the medium weights to restockers lost 5¢/kg. Medium and heavy weights to the trade were slightly dearer in making from 183¢ to 188¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers gained 5¢ to average 188¢, while the C4s were fully firm at 194¢ after making to 200¢/kg. The few bullocks ranged from 176¢ to 187¢/kg. Medium weight D2 and D3 cows were firm to slightly dearer and averaged 123¢ and 132¢/kg respectively. A fair number of medium weights returned to the paddock around 126¢/kg. Heavy cows made to 150¢ as the D3 and D4s generally sold in the mid to late 130¢/kg range.


Steady supply

Despite the absence of the Toowoomba sales due to the public holiday and a reduced yarding at Dalby, overall supply at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS hovered around last weeks level. This was due to increased numbers at both the Roma sales plus a few extra at Warwick.

The change in the season was reflected in overall quality, and as the first of the frosts appear young cattle made up 60% of total numbers yarded. With a few areas starting to dry off values for calves and vealer steers tended to ease around 4¢ to 8¢/kg. A fairly large sample of vealer heifers to slaughter varied in price from centre to centre and for the week averaged 5¢/kg cheaper. A large run of good quality lightweight yearling steers suitable for restockers were penned and the overall high standard managed to push prices up by 6¢/kg. Domestic medium weight yearling feeder steers struggled to maintain the previous week price averages and in places lost around 5¢/kg. However heavy feeders went against this trend and despite not all feeder operators being active in the market the remaining buyers were able to absorb the supply plus lift average prices by 2¢/kg.

Bullocks to export slaughter experienced a mixed trend and across all markets for the week averaged 2¢/kg cheaper against the solid gains of the previous week. Demand for cows also varied in places and gained ground at Warwick but lost value at late week sales nevertheless overall average prices for the week on good heavy cows experienced very little change.

Some cattle cheaper

Calves returning to the paddock averaged 8¢ cheaper at 210¢ and sold to 238.2¢ while slaughter descriptions averaged 197¢/kg. Vealer steers to restockers averaged 4¢ less at 213¢ with a few to 235.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to slaughter lost 5¢ to average close to 184¢ while a small selection of top end quality lines sold to local butchers at 218.2¢/kg. A large supply of lightweight yearling steers to restockers made to the occasional 244.2¢ with most around 217¢/kg. The largest number of medium weight yearling steers to feed averaged 5¢ cheaper at 195¢ with sales to 211.2¢/kg. Heavy yearling steers to feed averaged around 188¢, the occasional well bred pen to 200.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to the trade averaged 188¢ while a large sample sold to restockers at 203¢/kg. Good medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 171¢ and the D muscle lines made closer to 153¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter averaged 174¢ and sold to 183.2¢ while the bullock portion made to 178¢ to average 2¢ cheaper at 172¢/kg. Medium weight 2 score cows averaged 116¢ and 3 scores 130¢/kg. A fairly large sample of good heavy cows experienced no change in price at 142¢ with a few to 158.2¢/kg.

South Australia

Small yardings

The SA LE had a smaller yarding that featured mainly young cattle with supplementary fed yearlings attracting strong demand from the usual trade and export buyers.

Lines of well-bred vealers and store conditioned yearling steers attracted strong competition from feeder buyers who had their numbers boosted by an additional order. Small numbers of pastoral bred lightweight C1 and C2 yearling steers sold from 127¢ to 172¢/kg. Vealer steers were in limited numbers to the trade and feeder orders with all sales rising above 200¢/kg.

Lightweight and a few medium weight yearling steers sold to feeder activity at much dearer levels. The trade sourced C and B muscled medium and heavyweight yearling steers also at improved prices. Only a handful of grown and manufacturing steers and grown heifers were penned, with the small lines of beef cows selling from 110¢ to 154¢/kg.

After some more useful rainfall over the past week and following the dearer trend of past weeks Mt. Gambier’s numbers remained similar. Most of the usual SA and Victorian trade and export buyers were operating, albeit selectively at times. Feeder and restocker orders were also quite active on a mixture of young cattle, plain quality 1 score beef cows possibly in calf, and lightweight bulls.

Millicent’s much smaller yarding for its fortnightly sale contained young cattle, mainly manufacturing grown steers, beef and a few dairy cows in mixed quality runs that sold to limited trade and export competition due to the small numbers available. Feeder orders were also active on suitable well bred young cattle at mainly dearer levels.

Variable prices

The varying quality yarded combining with some limited trade and export competition led to erratic trends on most categories.

Limited sales of vealer steers to the trade sold from 203¢ to 238¢ with C3 sales 11¢ to 19¢/kg dearer. The C1 and C2 lightweight steers to feeder and restocker activity sold from 185¢ to 216¢/kg. Vealer heifers in small numbers to the trade sold between 180¢ and 214¢, with C muscled sales 2¢ to 27¢ cheaper and the D muscled 17¢/kg dearer. Yearling steer C3 medium and heavyweights sold from 180¢ to 210¢ with B-muscled sales to 224¢ at prices 5¢ to 6¢/kg more. Feeders sourced C2 medium weight steers from 182¢ to 207¢/kg at dearer levels. Yearling heifer C3 sales ranged from 163¢ to 200¢ with the medium weights 14¢ dearer, while the heavyweights were 9¢/kg cheaper.

Limited sales of C2 and C3 grown steers sold generally from 173¢ to195¢, or unchanged to 7¢ dearer and averaging 345¢/kg cwt. The beef cows sold from 110¢ to 154¢ at basically unchanged prices, and mainly 235¢ to 285¢/kg cwt. Friesian heavyweights sold from 122¢ to 135¢ to be unchnaged to 6¢/kg dearer.


Supply climbs again

Following on from the larges yarding last week, supply increased a further 20% across all markets reported by MLA’s NLRS. Just over half the cattle offered were at Leongatha, Pakenham and Wodonga. When compared to the corresponding week last year, yardings are up 43%.

The extra supply though had an impact on quality at a number of centres as more plainer cattle were offered. This is to be expected at this time of year with the cooler weather impacting pastures and livestock. Pakenham early in the week though had some good supplementary fed yearlings and bullocks, while at Bairnsdale there were increased numbers of high yielding heavy vealer steers.

Young cattle accounted for just 33% of the total throughput with yearlings only just out numbering the vealers. Most of the young cattle offered were medium and heavy weights. Cows represented just over 31% of the states yarding with around 46% being dairy cows, while grown steers accounted for 22%. Similarly to the young cattle, the grown cattle were carrying plenty of weight.

Young cattle generally sold to a mixed trend as the vealers were mostly firm to cheaper. The yearling steers were firm to a couple of cents dearer while the heifer portion was generally cheaper. At the close of Thursdays markets the EYCI was 374.25¢ which was up 0.25¢/kg cwt on week ago levels.

Heavy grown steers were 3¢ either side of firm as the bullocks were mostly cheaper with the lean lines most affected. Medium and heavy beef cows were firm to cheaper as the dairy portion was cheaper.

Mixed prices

Heavy muscled and high yielding B muscle vealer steers to the trade made to 240¢ with most of the medium and heavy weights making from 218¢ to 221¢/kg. The C muscle medium and heavy weights ranged from 201¢ to 216¢//kg. Medium weight vealer heifers were 9¢ to 11¢ cheaper as the heavy B muscle lines lost around 8¢/kg. The heavy C3s slipped 3¢ to average 206¢/kg. Medium weight C3s to the trade improved 1¢ to 207¢ as the heavy weights were firm around 199¢/kg. Feeders mostly paid from 188¢ to 193¢/kg. Heavy yearling heifers to the trade averaged 186¢ to be 3¢/kg cheaper.

Heavy C3 steers eased 2¢ to 191¢ as the C4s improved 3¢ to average 192¢/kg. The bullocks offered generally made from 178¢ to 186¢/kg. Medium weight D3 beef cows lost 8¢ to 130¢ with sales to 145¢/kg. Heavy D4 cows reached 152¢ to average 141¢/kg to be fully firm. Medium weight D1 dairy cows eased 3¢ to 112¢ as the D2s lost 6¢ to average 119¢/kg. The heavy dairy cows were in large numbers as the D1s were slightly cheaper with most around 117¢ as the 2 and 3 scores ranged from 125¢ to 132¢/kg.

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