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 13 July 2012
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Meat & Livestock Australia

West Australia

Tighter local cattle supplies

Conditions in the northern and eastern pastoral regions remain reasonable with moderate weather patterns being experienced. Mustering activity remains solid as expected at this time of year. Conditions in the south remain very mixed. After several weeks dry and cold weather, this week witnessed a wide spread but sporadic rainfall. Despite this, conditions in the traditional cattle regions of the southwest remain very solid with good levels of green feed reported.

Cattle numbers in physical markets lifted this week due to an increase in Muchea’s numbers and despite low and limited supplies being penned at Great Southern. Muchea’s increased cattle supplies were due to larger and solid supplies of cattle sourced from pastoral regions.

The numbers of heavy weight steers and bullocks remained limited, as were heavy weight mature heifer supplies with local trade weight yearling volumes again very limited. Young store grades of local cattle remained fair and similar to what would normally be seen at this time of year, while cow supplies remained moderate.
Trade demand, both export and domestic remained solid throughout the classes, while feeder interest in store classes continued at solid levels. Restocker demand was also solid, particularly in lightweight classes. Local wholesalers continued to report difficult market conditions in the domestic market.

Trade demand remains solid

Vealer supplies remained very limited with numbers again confined to calf weights. Demand for these from the local, trade, retailers and restockers remained unchanged with solid market conditions remaining in place. The tight supplies of trade weight local yearlings were predominately grain assisted. Local trade and feeder demand remained similar with little or no change seen in prices. Demand from the feeder sector on medium and heavier local store steers and heifers was firm to the previous couple of weeks with little or no change realised in overall average prices

Lightweight grown classes, particularly steers enjoyed a strengthened restocker demand that improved values. Heavy weight steers and bullocks were predominately sourced from pastoral regions. Trade demand from both local and export processors remained similar and firm in these classes with little or no change seen in values. The strong demand that has been seen in cow classes over the past six months continued this week. The values of both prime local and pastoral cows remained equal, while plainer conditioned and lighter weights enjoyed an increased competition from the processing sector. Heavy weight bull prices were also unchanged on moderate supplies, while live exporters and export feeders remained active on lightweight drafts.

New South Wales

Numbers ease slightly

Total throughput eased 6% week-on-week as reported at markets by MLA’s NLRS. The largest decline was at Dubbo, being back 66% as rain affected movement throughout the drawing area. Inverell recorded a 27% decline with fewer young cattle yarded. In contrast CTLX lifted 40% on last week with numbers up across all categories. Casino increased slightly with predominately young cattle offered along with several grown consignments.

Despite a fall in supply competition was strong and feeders and restockers were competing for the better quality lines as the market generally trended dearer. Processors were also active trying to secure enough cattle for the winter months. Quality continues to be plain with a large portion of unfinished cattle available. Despite the general decline in quality there remain some well finished cattle available especially at Forbes and Tamworth.

Contributors across the state have generally left over the hook prices unchanged as supply is currently sufficient in meeting demand. Domestic and export demand continues to be the driver behind processors price levels as well as the general decline in quality available.

The majority of NSW indicators increased on the back of lower supply. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) lifted 3¢ on 381.75¢/kg cwt. The vealer steer and vealer heifer indicators both strengthened 3¢ to settle on 213¢ and 209¢/kg lwt respectively. The heavy steer indicator had the largest increase up 6¢ on 195¢ while the only indicator to lose ground was yearling heifers back 2¢ on 197¢/kg lwt.

Prices strengthen

Prices reflected a reduction in yardings as buyers moved to secure cattle for the next few months. Medium weight vealer steers to restocker orders sold from 180¢ to 248¢ to average 248¢/kg. Medium weight vealer heifers pursued by processors sold 2¢ stronger on 202¢/kg.

Yearling steers sold mostly firm to dearer with light weight C2’s going to restockers from 208¢/kg. Medium weight yearling steers sold 3¢ higher on 206¢, while the heavy weight portion was firm to settle around 200¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feeder buyers ranged in price from 166¢ to 208¢ to average 191¢/kg. Heavy yearling steers to slaughter sold 6¢ higher on 189¢/kg.

The grown cattle market saw a mostly cheaper trend, with the odd exception due to quality. Medium weight grown steers to feeder orders were firm to average 192¢/kg. Good quality heavy grown steers were 5¢ dearer on 196¢, while bullocks settled on 191¢/kg. Light to medium weight grown heifers were mostly unchanged to average 173¢ and the heavy weight portion was 3¢ dearer on 179¢/kg.

Medium weight cows sold from 120¢ to 146¢ to average 135¢/kg. Heavy cows lifted 3¢ to settle around 147¢/kg. Heavy weight C2 bulls to slaughter sold from 125¢ to 176¢ to average 153¢/kg.

South Australia

Reduced Numbers

Following last week’s lower priced sale, the SA LE attracted a smaller mixed quality yarding of mainly young cattle. These sold to strong competition from the regular trade and export buyers. Feeders were also active on well bred yearling steers and heifers. Small numbers of vealers were penned with a heifer at 230¢/kg outselling the steers. Lightweight yearling steers were slightly dearer to restockers, while the trade sourced all C3 medium and heavyweights at improved levels. Yearling heifers tended to follow a similar pattern. Only small lines of grown and manufacturing steers together with grown heifers were penned, while cows tended to sell at dearer levels.

Naracoorte’s numbers fell in mixed quality runs and featured some excellent quality supplementary fed yearlings and beef cows which sold dearer. However, the price difference between good quality and plain quality moved further apart. Most of the usual SA and Victorian trade and export buyers were operating, albeit some on a limited basis due to the varying quality. Feeder and restocker orders were quite active as they sourced a mixture of young cattle, plain quality cows and some bulls.

Mt. Gambier’s numbers rose slightly after the improved prices that were paid the previous week. Overall quality tended to improve, this being most noticeable on the grown steers and cows which attracted improved prices. Some grown heavy steers sold at around 210¢ while some cows were selling over 150¢/kg. Young cattle quality remained quite mixed, with once again the price disparity getting wider on the better quality and plainer quality.

Erratic Trends

It was an erratically priced market, with few clear trends evident throughout the sales.

Vealer steers to the trade selling from 196¢ to 226¢, with B muscled sales dearer and the C muscled lower. Feeder purchases of C2 lightweights were between 195¢ and 208¢, or 8¢/kg dearer. Vealer heifers to the trade attracted prices mainly from 190¢ to 231¢ at prices unchanged to 12¢/kg cheaper. Feeders sourced C2 lightweights from 185¢ to 209¢/kg at dearer levels. Yearling steer B2 and C3 sales of medium and heavyweights with many having been supplementary fed, sold from 165¢ to 225¢ to be 2¢ to 5¢/kg dearer. Feeder C1 and C2 purchases were between 150¢ and 209¢. Yearling heifers C3 sales were from 160¢ to 215¢ at prices 1¢ to 8¢/kg more. Feeders sourced C2 heifers from 148¢ to 185¢, or 8¢/kg less.

Grown steer B2 and C3 sales to strong competition sold generally from 175¢ to 210¢, to be around 15¢ dearer and were averaging 343¢/kg cwt. The 3 to 5 score beef cows sold from 110¢ to 158¢ to be 4¢ to 5¢ dearer, and mainly 275¢ to 305¢/kg cwt.


Throughput higher

Throughput at MLA’s NLRS increased with the majority of markets indicating an increase in comparison to last week. The total states yarding was up 16% week on week and was 11% higher compared to the corresponding week last year. Wodonga young and grown markets both increased with the weekly total up 45%. Camperdown supply almost doubled while Ballarat yarded just over 200 head. Shepparton was 44% higher and Warrnambool had similar numbers week on week. The Colac and Pakenham markets also had a similar supply while Leongatha was back by 13% compared to last week.

Vealers were in short supply however those available were well conditioned heavyweights. Yearlings dominated supply across the majority of the young cattle sales with sufficient numbers of medium weight and heavy weights available. Heavy C3 and C4 grown steers and bullocks were increasing numbers and there were also more heavy grown heifers available. Medium weight cow numbers were slightly lower however heavy beef and dairy cow throughput increased.

Increased supply brought about greater selection for buyers with all the major restockers, feeders and processors present across most markets. Wodonga notably had a very good quality selection of young cattle available particularly some supplementary fed yearlings. Despite the improved quality there were reports of stock continuing to show the effects of cold wintry conditions.

Prices rally higher

There were few vealers sold to feed on with medium C2 steers selling for $619/head or 226¢/kg. Most vealer steers were heavyweights with the medium with the B2 steers gaining 8¢ to make 226¢ while the C2 steers improved by 6¢/kg. Medium C2 vealer heifers climbed 9¢ to 204¢ while the heavy B2 heifers were 2¢ dearer at 220¢/kg. The majority of yearling steers were heavy weights with the C3 steers gaining 5¢ and the C4 steers dearer by 2¢, both grades selling at 205¢/kg. Light yearling heifers sold to feeders for 183¢, being 11¢/kg up. Heavy yearling heifers were 1¢ dearer at 193¢ while D3 heifers were unchanged at 169¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers and C4 bullocks gained 3¢ to sell at an average of 192¢/kg. Light grown D3 heifers sold unchanged for 155¢ while the heavy D4 heifers reduced 6¢ to make 159¢/kg. Heavy manufacturing dairy steers were 2¢ dearer at 158¢/kg. Medium D1 dairy cows sold for 116¢, being 3¢/kg up. Heavy D2 dairy cows were 3¢ up at 133¢/kg. Heavy D4 cows also gained 3¢ to make 149¢/kg. Heavy C2 bulls slip 4¢ to average 150¢/kg. Heavy C3 bulls gained 2¢ and sold for 167¢/kg.


A large lift in supply

A spell of fine weather combined with more rain forecast lifted supply at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS by 54%. The very large yarding at the Roma store sale represented half of the total cattle penned in the state for the week. Young cattle continued to dominate the selling pens in the south of the state however in the north at Mareeba the slightly smaller supply consisted of predominately cows and grown steers.

Buyer representation in the young cattle sections was generally good nevertheless similar to previous weeks with restockers selective in their purchases. Butchers at Warwick lifted prices by 15¢/kg on a small selection of vealer heifers, while wholesalers were very active on supplementary fed yearling steers and heifers.

Feed lot buyers were keen to make purchases and at Dalby provided very strong buying strength against restockers on well bred heavy yearling steers an average prices for steers returning to the paddock improved by 5¢/kg.

A full gallery of export buyers was present and operating at most markets. However at mid week sales despite one export processor not operating to full capacity average prices managed to improve in places.

Some good bullocks were penned at late week sales, however average prices suffered due to a large number of plainer bullocks yarded. Plain cows continue to meet strong support from restockers as well as processors and slaughter lines managed to improve by a further 4¢/kg. A fair sample of good heavy cows across all markets for the week averaged 1¢/kg better.

Cows dearer

The largest numbers of calves returned to the paddock at 211¢ and sold to 228.2¢, while a fair supply of D muscle lines sold to the trade at 187¢/kg. The largest sample of vealer steers returned to the paddock at 217¢ the occasional well bred pen to 240.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers in the south of the state sold to processors at around 200¢ with the occasional sale to local butchers at 244.2¢/kg. A large selection of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock 6¢ dearer at 217¢ with sales to 234.2¢/kg. Medium weight C2 feeders averaged 209¢ while the top end quality of the C3s made to 227.2¢/kg. Heavy weights to feed averaged 194¢ while a large consignment returned to the paddock at 202¢ and sold to 205.2¢/kg some returning $1082/head. Lightweight yearling heifers were well supplied and restocker lines averaged 203¢ while feeder and slaughter classes generally sold in the low to mid-190¢/kg range.

Heavy grown steers to export slaughter averaged 183¢ and bullocks mostly sold around 179¢ with a few sales to 187.2¢/kg. Medium weight 1 score cows to processors averaged 4¢ dearer at 117¢ and a large number of 3 scores averaged 134¢/kg. Good heavy cows made to the occasional 163.2¢ with most 1¢ better at close to 151¢/kg.

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