Australian Weekly 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 15 September 2014
clock icon 8 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

South Australia 

Supply continues to lift

Total SA cattle supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, increased 37% week-on-week, to total 5,233 head, with all centres recording greater numbers. Mount Gambier lifted its throughput by 56%, to 1,861 head, while Naracoorte gained 10%, at 2,872 head. The SA Livestock Exchange penned 12% more cattle this week, with 500 head in total, and Millicent’s fortnightly sale returned with a yarding of 555 head.

Softer demand for young cattle

Overall quality remained mixed this week, although Millicent reported an improvement in condition. Trade demand was very weak across the young cattle section at the SA Livestock Exchange, with restockers and feeders also only cautiously active. Restocker input was limited at Millicent, generally only purchasing heavy weight yearling steers, however they were bidding keenly at Mount Gambier to secure replacement steers. Demand fluctuated at Mount Gambier, despite the inclusion of two extra Victorian trade and processor buyers.

Processor demand for the good selection of export cattle available was strong and resulted in generally dearer trends at all markets. The larger numbers of cows penned at Naracoorte have prompted agents to split the sale until further notice, with cows and bulls to be sold on Fridays and all other stock on Tuesdays.

Cow prices lift

Vealers were in limited numbers and the heavy C3 steers to processors averaged 4¢ cheaper, on 198¢, while their heifer equivalents slipped 7¢ to settle on 180¢/kg. Medium weight C2 yearling feeder steers were close to firm on 181¢, while the heavy C3 lines to slaughter eased 3¢ and averaged 191¢/kg. Processors purchased medium and heavy C3 yearling heifers at an average price of 175¢, back 2¢ to 7¢, while medium D2’s were on 164¢, up 6¢/kg.

Heavy C3 grown steers and bullocks lifted by up to 6¢ and averaged 198¢, with the heifers also improving 6¢, as they averaged 175¢/kg. The majority of cows penned were heavy weights, and the C3 beef lines sold to processors 2¢ higher, on 176¢, while D2 to 4 cows gained 2¢ to 15¢, with averages ranging from 163¢ to 176¢/kg.


Cow supplies rise

The supply of stock at physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS varied from centre to centre and overall numbers continued to remain relatively high. The overall quality of the large supply of young cattle was mixed, and in the grown cattle section heavy grown steers and bullocks were scarce, while the large penning of cows was dominated by good heavy classes. A full panel of export and feeder buyers was present and all were operating, along with a few restocker buyers. Young cattle experienced a mixed trend, with light weight plain condition classes struggling to maintain the previous week’s averages. However, extra domestic feeder buyer competition helped boost medium and heavy weight yearling steers and heifers, and in places demand was pushed on by restockers. Heavy grown steers and bullocks could not maintain the previous weeks improved prices, and cows followed a similar trend from the very high prices the previous week.

Prices mixed

Calves returning to the paddock averaged over 20¢ cheaper at 175¢, with the very occasional sale to 216.2¢/kg. Vealer heifers to local and southern processors averaged 13¢ less at 178¢ with a few to butchers reaching 204.2¢/kg. A large selection of lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at an average of 204¢ with the occasional pen reaching 226.2¢/kg. Medium weights to feed averaged 5¢ dearer with most just over 200¢, with sales to 216.2¢/kg. Restockers were also very active on the medium weights and paid 218.2¢/kg. Heavyweights to feed also averaged 5¢ better with a large number in the early 200¢ range, with sales to 216.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers were well supplied and average prices eased by 3¢ to 11¢, with most around 168¢/kg. Medium weights to feed experienced a lift in price to average 9¢ dearer at 184¢ with a few pens reaching 206.2¢/kg.

Heavy grown steers averaged 4¢ cheaper at 201¢ and bullocks lost 6¢ to average 203¢ with the occasional sale to 221.2¢/kg. A pen of certified grain fed bullocks reached 236.2¢/kg, with half of the proceeds going to the RFDS. Prices for cows eased by 4¢ to 7¢, with medium weight 2 scores averaging 135¢/kg. The large supply of good heavy cows mostly sold around 182¢, with some to 197.2¢/kg.

Western Australia

Conditions improve

Rainfall in southern districts lifted spirits and northern regions continued to take advantage of the solid prices and good conditions. Both sales saw solid increases in numbers, with 3,436 cattle penned across both markets. Pastoral bulls and cows were in large numbers at Muchea, with store young cattle in solid numbers at Mt Barker. Prime trade drafts were limited in number.

Young cattle firm

Prime trade cattle maintained their prices, with well finished yearling steers making 210¢ to 244¢/kg to be firm on last week. Prime heifers also maintained prices, with sales between 200¢ and 279¢, while pastoral cattle to the trade made up to 218¢ for steers, with heifers from 170¢ to 185¢/kg.

More pastoral cows penned

Grown steers and heifers were mixed in quality, with prices for steers from 120¢ to 239¢, easing by up to 10¢/kg. Grown heifers also eased in price, with the best drafts steady to reach a top of 229¢, but most sold from 120¢ to 185¢/kg. Better local store cattle lifted by close to 10¢/kg. Steers made from 200¢ to 265¢ for local drafts and heifers were from 180¢ to 244¢/kg. Pastoral store steer drafts sold from 150¢ to 180¢ and the heifers were from 130¢ to 180¢/kg, with both selling to similar levels to last week. Cow prices eased marginally overall, with more pastoral drafts on offer. Heavy D3 and D4 and better medium weight cows sold between 165¢ and 188¢/kg to be slightly easier. The D2 cows were also slightly easier, with most sales ranging from 135¢ to 175¢/kg. Bull prices were mixed between markets, with heavy weights up at Mt Barker, but cheaper at Muchea. Prices ranged between 150¢ and 190¢/kg. Light bulls to live export and export feeders sold at slightly easier prices, making from 165¢ to 231¢/kg.


Overall consignments ease

Total cattle throughput across the state decreased 9% this week, to 12,868 head, with the majority of saleyards yarding fewer numbers. Consignments at Ballarat were back 27% week-on-week, at 342 head, while Pakenham penned a total 1,432 head, down 6% on last week. There were similar numbers yarded at Camperdown (780 head), while Shepparton (3,300 head) decreased 6% over the period. Cattle supply at Wodonga (3,888 head) declined 21%, attributed to the anticipation of rain forecast for the area, while Leongatha (1,197 head) was 13% lower. Numbers at Warrnambool (820 head) and Bairnsdale (870 head) were up 12% and 65%, respectively, while, in contrast, Colac (239 head) was back 19% week-on-week.

Quality mixed

Overall local restocker interest at Wodonga this week was relatively subdued, with the bulk of offering at the grown cattle sale consisting of well-finished high yielding beef cows. Shepparton saw fewer heavy bullocks penned, as most drafts ranged between 500kg and 600kg, while demand was strong across heavy cow grades.

Quality at Pakenham was reportedly very mixed, reflecting prices across most categories, while good supplies of cattle suitable to feed met cheaper prices. There were limited numbers of prime cattle yarded this week at Leongatha, with a better selection of yearling heifers suitable to the trade. Bairnsdale recorded firm averages on all prime cattle categories, while yearlings were best represented by heifers at Warrnambool this week.

Prices vary

Across the state, heavy C3 yearling steers to slaughter eased 3¢ on 200¢, while the equivalent heifer portion was back 2¢ week-on-week, selling between 170¢ and 202¢/kg. Heavy C3 grown steers to processor buyers averaged 3¢ dearer than a week ago, making from 168¢ to 210¢, while medium D3 grown heifers to slaughter increased 9¢, to average 182¢/kg.

Medium D2 manufacturing dairy steers were up 4¢ on last week, to average 181¢, while a large supply of cows across the state saw heavy D4 beef grades sell 11¢ higher, ranging from 158¢ to 194¢/kg.

New South Wales

Numbers steady on last week

Cattle supply across the state varied through most selling centres with the large saleyards of Dubbo and Wagga yarding close to 6,400 head. Despite numbers slipping 21% at Dubbo, quality remained quite good. The hunter markets all registered an increase in throughput driven predominately by the improvement in market conditions over the past few weeks.

Supplementary fed lines start to increase

Prices varied this week as producers looked to offload plain conditioned lines, predominately through Tamworth and Gunnedah, while supplementary fed cattle were in good numbers throughout Wagga, CTLX and Dubbo. The well finished medium and heavy weight cattle continue to attract strong demand from feedlot and processor orders as the winter months have now come to a close.

Prices ease slightly due to a slip in quality

Despite the majority of prices easing slightly on last week, demand at the majority of centres remained relatively strong. Medium weight vealer steers returning to the paddock sold at similar levels to last week ranging from 166¢ to 230¢, while the C2 heifer portion to processors averaged 189¢, back 5¢/kg on last week. Light yearling steers to restock generally sold between 160¢ and 228¢, back 6¢/kg. Medium and heavy weight lines to feeder buyers sold from 170¢ to 218¢, up slightly week-on-week. Heavy C3 yearling heifers eased 2¢ on last week averaging 182¢/kg. The 500kg to 600kg grown steers topped at 201¢, ranging from 182¢ to 210¢/kg. Medium weight D3 cows sold steady on last week topping at 180¢ to average 159¢/kg. The heavy weight D3 lines averaged 167¢, unchanged on last week.



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