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 6 July 2012
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

New South Wales

Numbers remain steady

Total throughput has remained relatively firm at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS declining only 2% week-on-week. Total yardings across most selling centres varied with an increase seen at Dubbo of 65%. The significant increase is due to a substantial surge of yearling steers and heifers yarded compared to last week. Inverell also followed the same trend as throughput increased 60% with young cattle dominating the market. Consignments at Gunnedah improved 18% consisting predominately of young cattle. These increases were offset by declines at both CTLX and Wagga both recording a 26% and 25% reduction respectively.

Plainer lines of young cattle are being offered with little change in quality from last week. As winter deepens the young cattle continue to feel the effects of the cooler temperatures. There were sporadic offerings of supplementary fed grown cattle available however the majority remain grass finished. The usual buyers were present at most markets with restockers and feeders competing to secure the better quality lines. Processors were also present with prices reflecting a more competitive market.

NSW indicators generally increased with the cow indicator experiencing greater competition lifting 6¢ to settle on 136¢/kg lwt. The NSW vealer steer indicator eased 1¢ to average 211¢/kg. The yearling steer indicator lifted 1¢ while heavy steers dropped 2¢ on 189¢/kg. The Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) reflected the competition between feeder and restockers lifting 3¢ to settle on 378.50¢/kg cwt.

Prices strengthen

Prices strengthened as supply slipped slightly as competition for quality cattle intensifies. The limited calves on offer sold predominately to restockers ranging from 209¢ to 258¢/kg. Restockers also competed heavily for vealer steers with light D2’s varying from 197¢ to 268¢ lifting 12¢/kg. Medium C2’s remained relatively firm easing 1¢ on 212¢/kg. The bulk of vealer heifers sold to processors with medium C2’s gaining 3¢ on 199¢, while to restock prices ranged from 160¢ to 199¢/kg. Light yearling steers saw increased demand lifting 7¢ to average 208¢, while medium weights to feed settled on 202¢/kg. Light yearling heifers lifted 6¢ to fluctuate from 160¢ to 215¢ while the medium C3’s sort increased demand up 11¢ making 199¢/kg.

Medium grown steers to feed varied from 162¢ to 209¢ to be 4¢ better, while the heavy portion to processors topped at 206¢ to average 191¢/kg. The C2 bullocks to processors topped at 202¢ up 6¢/kg. Light grown heifers finished on 173¢ up 3¢, while the heavy C4 portion remained firm on 176¢/kg. Processors took the majority of medium cows at 124¢ with some heavy dairy portion averaging 122¢/kg. Heavy D4 cows experienced greater interest ranging from 125¢ to 156¢/kg.


Wet weather restricts supply

The wet weather last week continues to restrict supply into the saleyards with numbers at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS falling a further 12%. Most centres recorded reduced supply however with the country starting to dry out in the supply area around Dalby numbers experienced a small increase, while the Roma prime sale recorded the smallest yarding for 2012.

Young cattle continue to dominate the selling pens representing 60% of total supply as at this time of year some producers choose to wean straight into the saleyards. The quality of the heavy steer and bullocks portion was generally good while the cow section contained a large supply of leaner categories.

Extra restocker buyers were present at most markets, while a full gallery of export buyers was present and operating. Values generally improved across a number of sections, and while restocker buyers continue to be optimistic about the winter seasonal conditions, in places were selective with their purchases with only well bred classes commanding a high rate. Yearling steers and heifers to feed all improved in value with medium weights steers 16¢ better, and heavyweight export feeders 6¢/kg dearer.

Demand clearly outweighed supply on heavy steers and bullocks and as a result prices lifted by 7¢ to 8¢/kg. Lean cows continued to be in demand from restockers as well as processors and the vast majority of lower fat scores sold to processors. The better conditioned heavy weights sold to a market 3¢ to 5¢/kg dearer.

Most classes dearer

Calves returning to the paddock averaged 212¢ and sold to 234.2¢/kg. Vealer steers purchased by restockers made to 240.2¢ in pen lots with most at 220¢/kg. Vealer heifers to local and southern processors in the south of the state made around 200¢/kg with isolated sales to butchers at 227.6¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock averaged 211¢ and sold to 231.2¢/kg. A fair selection of medium weight feeders averaged 207¢, while a large sample of heavy feeders averaged 6¢ better at 195¢ with a few pens to 208.2¢ some returning $1095/head. A relatively short supply of medium weight yearling heifers to the trade experienced a big lift in price to average 207¢ and sold to 221.2¢/kg.

Heavy steers to export slaughter improved in price by 7¢ to average at 182¢ and sold to 190.2¢/kg. A fair sample of bullocks averaged 8¢ better at 183¢ with a few pens to 190.2¢/kg. Cows to restockers averaged 127¢ with the occasional pen to 140¢/kg.Lightweight lean cows to processors averaged 105c, and medium weights 113¢/kg Medium weight 2 scores mostly sold around 118¢, and 3 scores 132¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to 160¢ to average 5¢ dearer at 150¢/kg.


Steady supply

Supply at markets reported this week by MLA’s NLRS increased, albeit only 1%, with just under 44% contributed from Leongatha and Wodonga. Young cattle only accounted for 34% with the vealer portion almost non existent which is to be expected for this time of year. Fair numbers of yearlings were penned with steers in the greatest supply. Cows were again offered in the largest numbers with grown steers also available in fair supply.

The declining seasonal conditions have again been highlighted in the mixed quality cattle that were offered. There were good quality lines that were under solid demand from processors.

A dearer trend was evident across almost all categories. Vealers were mainly 4¢ to 8¢/kg dearer with the yearlings firm to 5¢/kg dearer. The grown steers climbed 3¢ to 6¢/kg, as cows gained 3¢ to 9¢/kg.

Cattle throughput at the nine weekly markets reported by MLA’s NLRS for the 2011-12 fiscal year was down just 1% when compared to the previous 2010-11 fiscal year. Five markets reported greater numbers, while the remaining 4 had fewer throughput. The largest market, accounting for 22% of the states total was Wodonga, while Pakenham and Shepparton each offered around 16% of the numbers. The smallest prime market reported was Ballarat which represented just 3%. Young cattle accounted for 37% of the total throughput with the yearlings accounted for just over 60%. Cows represented 47% of the grown cattle as the dairy portion representing 43% of the total cows offered. Grown steers accounted 32% of the states yarded.

A dearer trend

Most of the C medium and heavy vealer steers ranged from 203¢ to 221¢ as the heavy B muscles topped at 246.6¢ with most around 195¢/kg with most going to the trade. The rather small number of vealer heifers sold to 247¢ with the C muscle medium and heavy weights selling closer to 195¢/kg. Over half of the yearling steers were heavy weights that were purchased by the trade from 201¢ to 203¢ after reaching 230¢/kg. Medium C muscle yearling heifers to the trade averaged 191¢ with the plainer lines ranging from 173¢ to 184¢/kg. The few heavy C muscle heifers ranged from 190¢ to 197¢, as the D muscle lines averaged 169¢/kg.

Good heavy steers ranged from 190¢ to 195¢ with sales to a top of 203.2¢/kg. The bullocks and heavy bullocks range generally made from 173¢ to 190¢/kg. The light end of the dairy cows averaged 91¢, as the medium weights ranged from 100¢ to 113¢ which was 10¢ to 14¢/kg dearer. The heavy dairy cows were 7¢ dearer with most sales from 118¢ to 130¢/kg or 270¢ to 290¢/kg cwt. Medium weight beef cows ranged from 129¢ to 134¢ after making to a top of 144.6¢/kg. Good heavy cows sold mostly from 138¢ to 146¢ with sales to 155¢/kg. The heavy cows averaged close to 290¢/kg cwt.

South Australia

Similar numbers

The SA LE had similar numbers containing predominantly young cattle in mixed quality runs. Naracoorte’s numbers rose slightly with quality slipping on the young cattle, while there were some very good quality cows available. Mt. Gambier had just over 620 head for yet another small winter yarding, while Millicent had only 190 head for its fortnightly sale.

The SA LE’s yarding sold to a generally easing trend, the only exception being some good quality drafts of supplementary fed yearlings that were less affected by the lower prices. However, there were very good prices paid for a small number of vealers. Yearling steers to the trade were cheaper, with medium weights to feeder activity following suit. Apart from some restocker purchases of D2 medium weight beef cows that were slightly dearer, all other sales to processors were much cheaper.

Naracoorte’s yarding sold to steady SA and Victorian trade and export competition. Most buyers though were limited with their purchases due to most young cattle being only in 1 and 2 score condition. However, there were some good quality supplementary fed yearlings that attracted the strongest demand at dearer levels. Feeder and restocker orders were active on 1 and 2 score lightweight Angus and Murray Grey vealer steers and heifers. The beef cows tended to sell at prices unchanged to 6¢/kg cheaper.

Mt. Gambier’s yarding contained very mixed quality runs of young cattle and grown steers, while overall cow quality was very good. There were also some plain quality lightweight Friesian bulls that sold to a local restocker order after some drawn out bidding.

Fluctuating prices

It was a fluctuating priced sale week that was exacerbated by the varying quality. Vealer steers in limited numbers to the trade sold from 198¢ to 223¢ with an isolated sale at 242¢/kg. This tended to leave most sales unchanged to 5¢/kg cheaper. Feeder and restocker purchases of C2 lightweights were from 192¢ to 203¢ at prices 5¢/kg less. Vealer heifers to the trade on small lines sold between 160¢ and 228¢, or 5¢ to 8¢/kg dearer. Feeders sourced C2 lightweight heifers from 184¢ to 195¢ at unchanged prices. Yearling steer C3 and B2 sales of mainly heavyweights were from 160¢ to 212¢ at prices 6¢ cheaper for the C muscled and 12¢/kg dearer for the B muscled. Large numbers of C2 steers to feeder activity were from 160¢ to 209¢/kg. Yearling heifer C3 medium and heavyweights sold between 165¢ and 210¢ at prices 2¢ to 10¢/kg less.

Grown steers in mainly 2 score condition sold from 160¢ to 190¢, with the C2 medium weights 13¢/kg dearer. The 2 to 5 score beef cows sold generally from 110¢ to 148¢ to vary from 2¢ to 4¢ cheaper, and 5¢ to 8¢ dearer as most sold between 255¢ and 290¢/kg cwt.

Western Australia

Numbers up

There was minimal rain recorded throughout the state with the majority falling in the south west. Cattle yardings commenced the new financial year with greater numbers up 23%. Katanning throughput held firm while Muchea yarded 36% more numbers week on week. Considering total cattle throughput in the state was back 10% in the 2011- 12 financial year compared to 2010-11 the increase in throughput this week can only be seen as a positive sign.

The majority yarded were pastoral cattle with a solid supply across the young and grown portion of the yarding. Feeder cattle were also in good numbers and buyers were mostly active on the medium weight yearlings and heifers. Restockers secured the majority of the light yearling lines with the C2 varieties attracting the strongest competition.

Muchea experienced a general improvement in quality in comparison to last week’s sale. There were some good levels of supplementary fed drafts of young cattle along with some good quality grown cattle. Prices generally improved across all categories with extra demand on the majority of lines. At Katanning quality remained mixed with most of the steers and heifers suitable to feed and restock. Prices were again strong with solid demand from restockers for medium and heavy young cattle assisting the gains. Processor competition was elevated for the cow portion with buyers keen to secure suitable well-conditioned lines.

The majority of WA indicators gained ground with the feeder steer indicator the standout gaining 16¢ to finish on 228¢/kg. Heavy steers went forward 3¢ to 213¢ while the pastoral cow indicator was 10¢ higher on 142¢/kg. Heavy cows and light bulls were firm on 152¢ and 166¢/kg.

Prices higher

The majority of price categories reported by MLA’s NLRS were higher with the strong competition assisting movements. Light yearling steers to restock were 45¢ higher to range from 210¢ to 250¢ averaging 239¢/kg. Medium weight C2 yearling steers to feed were up 26¢ to average 232¢ while the heavy weight pastoral cattle settled on 189¢ an increase of 13¢/kg. Light yearling heifers were in good supply and restockers paid 19¢ more with the majority selling at 216¢/kg. The medium weight yearling heifers to feed ranged from 199¢ to 228¢ up 19¢/kg.

Medium weight pastoral D3 grown steers gained 5¢ to average 165¢/kg. The heavy weight pastoral grown steers were mostly firm selling between 159¢ and 181¢/kg. Heavy bullocks were slightly lower settling on 170¢ to top at 173¢/kg. The D3 grown heifers also experienced a declining trend, 7¢ cheaper on 149¢/kg. Light pastoral cows were 8¢ up on 117¢ while the medium weight portion gained 3¢ to average 153¢/kg. Heavy weight D3 pastoral cows ranged from 133¢ to 157¢ to average 151¢ while the D4 portion averaged 153¢/kg. Light bulls were 8¢ lower on 148¢ however the medium weights gained ground up 2¢ on 149¢/kg. Heavy weight bulls topped at 156¢ with most closer to 152¢/kg

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