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 12 October 2012
clock icon 7 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Western Australia

Temperatures rise as feed turns

As temperatures rise in the north coupled with the time of year mustering activity in the pastoral regions of WA continues to decline. Conditions in the south parts of were predominately fine, dry and warm. Forecasts looking forward into next week have predicted a slight chance of showers with most of this again confined to coastal regions.

Increase numbers at selling centres

Saleyard numbers increased due to larger supplies in the Great Southern and the return of the southwest sale to the roster after the lay off the previous week. There were slightly lower numbers of pastoral cattle seen at Muchea with the bulk of these once again being medium and lightweight bulls and cows. Heavy weight steer supplies remained tight at all three markets, as were mature heifer grades, while there continued to be a reasonable supply of quality grass finished trade weight yearlings. Store supply was abundant while cow numbers remained at healthy levels.

Improvement in quality

Heavy weight steers and heifers saw a constriction in processor demand recording lower values of between 5¢ to 8¢/kg. Trade weight yearlings continued to enjoy a solid competition from both the processing and feed sectors with both steers and heifer enjoying similar prices. There was however a general easing in demand for the majority of store classes with a more selective feeder and restocker demand realised. There was an improvement in the overall weight and quality of the cow yarding’s this. Processor demand remained similar throughout the classes of both local and pastoral drafts with firm prices subsequently recorded. This was also the case in heavy weight bull sales, while lightweight drafts recorded a solid demand from both the live export and export feeder sectors.

New South Wales

Numbers lift

Total throughput has increased by 70% as the larger saleyards of Wagga, Tamworth and Forbes were back in operation following the public holiday on Monday last week. Good numbers of yearling were present at Wagga while grown heifers were in good supply at CTLX. Goulbourn had predominately 1 and 2 score yearlings while Gunnedah recorded a slight increase in throughput with the majority being young cattle. Consignments at Inverell were up by 71% as the continual dry weather has producers offloading greater numbers. Dubbo went against the trend yarding 22% less cattle with fewer heavy grown steers available.

Plain cattle dominate

The quality of stock throughout saleyards remains predominately unfinished as the dry spring weather continues. The yardings are mixed as some supplementary and crop fed cattle are present in markets, although in limited numbers.

The usual buyers were present at the majority of markets however restockers and feeders were absent at Dubbo and Gunnedah. There were two extra export buyers at Wagga however prices remained steady despite the increased competition.

Prices firm to slightly cheaper

Prices were generally cheaper with the majority of price fluctuations quality related. Medium C2 and C3 vealer steers to slaughter was generally firm to 6¢ dearer averaging 206¢ while the medium weight C2 heifer portion to slaughter averaged 202¢/kg. Light yearling steers returning to the paddock were up 7¢ on 195¢, while completion between feeder buyers for the medium weight C2’s wavered; back 5¢ on 206¢/kg. Light yearling heifers to restockers were firm to 4¢ dearer making 173¢/kg.

The majority of heavy grown steers sold from 160¢ to 198¢/kg. Processors paid 11¢ less for light C3 grown heifers, as the large number of medium cows sold from 116¢ to 152¢/kg. Heavy D4 lines eased slightly on last week’s levels to finish on 143¢/kg.


Numbers surge with full trading week

The return to a full trading week and the greater supply at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS resulted in the total states supply increasing almost 57%. Very low rainfall across the supply area in recent months also had an effect on numbers with Dalby recording the largest yarding since September 2009.

Despite the harsh seasonal conditions across a wide area of the state the overall standard of the heavy steers bullocks and cows was fair to good, while there was a wide variation in the quality of the young cattle.

Restockers resistant to buy at current prices

A full panel of export buyers was present at most markets, however buyer representation was reduced in the young cattle sections. Good numbers of restocker buyers were present at the Roma store sale however most were unwilling to pay the same prices as the previous week. This trend continued as the week progressed across all markets and lightweight yearling steers averaged 14¢/kg less. Feeder descriptions commenced the week on a firm trend, nevertheless by mid week average prices deteriorated by 3¢ to 6¢/kg. The lack of supermarket support combined with less competition from wholesalers saw average prices for medium and heavy weight yearling steers 3¢ to 9¢/kg cheaper. The heifer portion suffered the most with losses of 12¢ and up to 20¢/kg in places.

Export slaughter descriptions went against this downward trend with heavy steers and bullocks meeting very solid demand across all markets. Cows experienced similar strong demand and a large consignment of good heavy cows from the far west boosted the overall standard at Dalby and also improved prices.

Grown cattle sell stronger

A large number of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at 200¢ with sales to 221.2¢/kg. Medium and heavy weight yearling heifers to the local trade market generally sold in 170¢/kg range

Heavy steers to export slaughter averaged 183¢ with a few pens to 193.2¢/kg. A good selection of bullocks also averaged 183¢ and sold to 190.2¢/kg. Heavy 4 score cows in the largest numbers averaged 152¢ and made to 164.2¢/kg.

South Australia

Numbers increase

The SA LE’s numbers rose after no sale last week and contained mixed quality runs of local and pastoral bred cattle that sold to an easing trend. Feeder orders were active and were only keen to source well bred lightweight young cattle. Most categories tended to lose ground, with only isolated sales being dearer.

Naracoorte’s larger yarding of good quality runs of young cattle and grown steers met fluctuating demand. One supermarket was also active where quality suited. Feeders and restockers also made their presence felt over a wide range of categories.

Mt. Gambier’s numbers were larger and sold to a generally weaker trend, as only B-muscled vealers attracting the strongest demand. The lower prices overall were due to some of the regular buyers operating on a limited basis.

Millicent’s yarding nearly doubled and featured very good quality runs of their renowned vealers which sold to soft wholesale and export competition, with heifers suffering the largest fall.

Fluctuating Competition

Vealer steers to the trade sold from 175¢ to 235¢ with isolated sales to 258¢/kg. Feeder purchases of mainly lightweight Angus steers were from 150¢ to 213¢/kg. Vealer heifers to the trade followed a similar pattern as most sold from 155¢ to 234¢, with singles to 244¢/kg. Yearling steer C3 sales were from 154¢ to 204¢ to be 6¢ to 12¢/kg cheaper. Feeder and restocker purchases of light and medium weight yearlings ranged between 126¢ and 195¢, with medium weight C2 sales 5¢/kg dearer. Yearling heifer C3 ranged between 136¢ and 195¢/kg.

Good quality grown steer made from 165¢ to 200¢ to be 2¢ to 7¢/kg cheaper and generally 290¢ to 345¢/kg cwt. Most beef cows sold from 100¢ to 140¢ to be 7¢ to 25¢/kg cheaper, and mainly 220¢ to 285¢/kg cwt.


Supply lifts

State throughput increased 18% as all bar one centre offered greater numbers. Some markets realised only minor gains while Wodonga and Shepparton climbed 10% to 15% and Pakenham jumped 45%. The only market that was reduced was Colac. When compared to the same time last year overall supply was up, albeit only 1%.

Most of the increase though was recorded in the vealer steers, yearling heifers and grown steers which lifted 32%, 31% and 16% respectively.

Quality has remained rather variable with some centres recording greater numbers of improved quality cattle while others continue to pen lines that are more suited to feeders and restockers.

Cheaper trend prevails

The regular field of buyers have been present although a cheaper trend has been evident across almost all categories. The decline was a combination of factors including increased supply, mixed quality and the generally weak demand across the trade and export markets.

Medium and heavy vealers to the trade were 3¢ to 15¢/kg cheaper as the heifer portion suffered greater losses. The few medium weight C3 yearling steers to the trade fell 12¢, as the heavy weights to slaughter were 2¢ to 5¢/kg cheaper. Feeder purchases of heavy weights were firm at 189¢/kg. The medium and heavy C3 yearling heifers lost 2¢ to 7¢ to generally make around 183¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers were 2¢ to 3¢ cheaper with most making from 188¢ to 192¢/kg. The good bullocks sold in the early to late 180¢/kg range to be close to firm. Medium weight D1 dairy cows remained unchanged at 113¢ as the heavy weights were firm to 3¢ in mostly making from 118¢ to 134¢/kg. The heavy beef cows were in large numbers and eased up to 3¢, although some of the better quality lines were dealt greater losses. Heavy D3 and D4s generally ranged from 137¢ to 141¢/kg.

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