Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - The following report is a collection of market summaries from the previous week across Australia's territories from analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
calendar icon 11 July 2014
clock icon 7 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

South Australia

Cattle supply rises

SA cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, increased 15 per cent week-on-week, to 2,929 head. The SA Livestock exchange more than doubled their throughput, while supply at Mount Gambier and Naracoorte lifted 19 per cent and 30 per cent, to 1,440 head and 1,104 head, respectively.

Demand wavers

Demand mostly eased across all three markets this week and quality was mixed, reports the Meat and Livestock Australia team.

Feeder and restocker buyers at the SA Livestock Exchange bid strongly on the well-bred lightweights yarded, while restockers at Mount Gambier were cautious.

Young cattle at Naracoorte included several lines of supplementary fed yearlings and milk fed vealers. Increased lines of vealers at the SA Livestock Exchange lacked the finish of the previous week, while yearling steers were in demand from feeder buyers.

Processor competition was weaker throughout grown steer and cow categories at Mount Gambier. There were more grown steers yarded this week at the SA Livestock Exchange and the larger yarding of cows sold to solid processor demand.

Prices mostly cheaper

Medium weight C2 yearling steers to restocker buyers eased 8¢ to 181.1¢, while, heavy weight C3 yearling steers to slaughter decreased 4¢ to average 190.7¢/kg. Light weight D1 yearling heifers to restocker buyers averaged 114.9¢, while medium weight C3 lines to slaughter eased 6¢ to 176.6¢/kg. Heavy weight C3 yearling heifers to slaughter slipped 4¢ to settle on 183.2¢/kg.

Bullocks to slaughter were 5¢ cheaper on 193.6¢, while medium weight D3 grown heifers gained 10¢ to average 161.5¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows to slaughter eased 4¢ to 122.2¢, while heavy weight D4 lines lost 6¢ to settle on 139.5¢/kg.


Yardings decrease

There was a small decline of 8 per cent in the overall supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS. The trend of large numbers of young cattle continued and once again the cold, dry weather forced a large supply of calves into the market.

Heavy grown steers and bullocks were in short supply, while there was a relatively large sample of cows penned. The usual contingent of feeder buyers was present as well as a fair line-up of export processors, however some of the previous week’s exporters were absent from the buying panel. The few restocker buyers in attendance operated very selectively.

Calves sell to a cheaper trend

MLA analysts write that the supply of young lightweight cattle exceeded demand and average prices for calves fell by 20¢/kg at some centres. A large selection returned to the paddock at 141¢, with isolated sales to 186.2¢/kg. Vealer steers to feed and restockers were also cheaper and sold to a wide variation in price according to quality, with sales from 149.2¢ to 194.2¢/kg.

The large selection of lightweight yearling steers returning to the paddock averaged 15¢ cheaper at 186¢, while some well-bred lines sold to 207.2¢/kg. Medium weight feeders met strong demand with C2s averaging 175¢, while the better condition lines averaged 181¢ and sold to 199.2¢ and heavyweights averaged 186¢, with the occasional sale to 203.2¢/kg.

The best of the lightweight yearling heifers managed to make into the 140¢ range and poor quality lines made from 100¢ to 120¢/kg. Medium weights to feed experienced only quality related price changes with most from 145¢ to 155¢/kg.

Limited selection of grown cattle

The very small selection of heavy grown steers and bullocks improved in price with the younger classes gaining 8¢/kg. Heavy grown steers averaged 173¢ and bullocks 163¢/kg. Cows could not maintain the previous weeks improved levels, with prices generally falling 5¢ to 10¢/kg and greater losses would have occurred without some restocker support. Medium weight 2 scores averaged 5¢ less at 92¢/kg. A fair sample of good heavy cows lost 5¢ to average 129¢, with sales to 144.2¢/kg.


Numbers swell

Overall Victorian yardings, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, lifted 20 per cent week-on-week, to total 12,678 head, as almost all selling centres reported larger numbers coming through.

Bairnsdale nearly doubled in size, for 1,064 penned, while Ballarat gained 32 per cent to yard 282 head. Numbers at Leongatha were up just 1 per cent, at 2,044, while Pakenham was up 33 per cent, to 2,094 head.

Shepparton yarded 25 per cent more cattle, at 2,000 head, Wodonga lifted 38 per cent to 3,182 head and consignments at Warrnambool were 4 per cent higher for a total of 1,085 head. Only Camperdown and Colac defied the trend, yarding 5 per cent and 39 per cent fewer cattle, for 550 and 282 head penned, respectively.

Young cattle lack finish

A number of selling centres reported a lack of finish across the young cattle section this week, with top quality lines harder to source. As a result, weaker trade demand ensued at Camperdown and at Ballarat and Pakenham the majority of young cattle were purchased by lot feeders or restockers. Shepparton, on the other hand, penned greater numbers of good quality supplementary fed lines week-on-week.

In the grown cattle section, Camperdown yarded mostly dairy bred cows, while Wodonga’s Wednesday sale saw plenty of good heavy weight cows consigned. There were a few pens of excellent condition bullocks penned at Shepparton, although overall there were fewer lines of quality grown steers.

Prices generally ease

Heavy weight C3 vealer steers to processors lifted 2¢ to 208¢, while their heifer equivalents were 8¢ dearer to average 206¢/kg. Medium C2 yearling steers sold to lot feeders 2¢ cheaper, on 185¢, as the heavy weight C2 and 3 scores were up to 2¢ dearer and averaged 199¢/kg. Medium D3 yearling heifers to slaughter were back 4¢ on 176¢, while the heavy C3’s lifted 4¢ to return an average price of 191¢, and the D3’s slipped 11¢ to 176¢/kg.

Heavy weight C3 grown steers sold to the trade at prices 4¢ cheaper, on 198¢, while the bullocks were 1¢ to 6¢ cheaper and averaged in the high 190¢/kg range.

Medium D3 grown heifers to slaughter slipped 8¢ to 155¢, and the heavy weights lost 17¢ as averages settled on 162¢/kg. Heavy D muscle manufacturing steers to processors were 4¢ cheaper on 179¢, as the dairy bred steers were firm to 4¢ lower on 168¢/kg.

Medium D1 dairy cows eased 1¢ to 112¢, while heavy weights averaged 123¢/kg. Better heavy D3 and 4 beef cows slipped 3¢ to 5¢ and averaged 141¢/kg.

New South Wales 

Numbers increase

Consignments lifted 20 per cent for a total of 23,867 cattle offered at MLA’s NLRS reported markets this week. Wagga penned 4,135, in total, as Forbes offered 2,426 head, an increase of 40 per cent week-on-week.

Tamworth penned 42 per cent extra cattle, for a total of 1,800 head, as CTLX increased its offering by 43 per cent, to yard 3,494 cattle. Gunnedah offered 1,465 head, an increase of 22 per cent, week-on-week.

The Hunter markets of Scone and Singleton trended differently, as Scone increased by 18 per cent, with 1,121 yarded, while Singleton offered close to equal numbers for 780, in total. The northern markets of Casino and Inverell lifted 18 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, while Armidale defied the trend and lost 22 per cent. Dubbo continued to offer large consignments of cattle.

Quality remains mixed

There were percentages of prime younger cattle spread throughout the markets, however the bulk were more suited for restocker and lot feeder purchases. The younger steers totalled 7,053 head, as the heifer portion numbered 5,662, in total. Cows made up the bulk of the grown cattle in the markets throughout NSW to total 4,455 head.

Prices trend cheaper

The younger vealer steers returning to the paddock lost 2¢ to average 181¢, after topping at 212¢/kg. The medium weight heifer portion to the trade and restockers remained firm to 3¢/kg cheaper. Prime heavy weight vealers also struggled to maintain equal prices week-on-week.

Yearling steers to lot feeder orders maintained stable prices, especially the heavier weights they topped at 217¢, before settling around the 200¢/kg range. Yearling heifers trended 2¢ cheaper to the lot feeders, as the prime conditioned yearlings to butchers and processors lost from 4¢ to 6¢/kg.

Heavy weight grown steers to slaughter remained firm to 3¢ cheaper, as the tops reached 211¢/kg. Cows struggled under weight of numbers and slipped on average from 2¢ to 12¢/kg, with some markets recording greater losses. Heavyweight bulls also trended cheaper week-on-week.

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