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Weekly Cattle Summary

21 October 2011
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Local numbers still tight

Conditions in the far north have recorded the first rains for the tropical season, while the areas further to the south continue to see temperatures rise. In the southern Agricultural districts the there was a mixed week of weather with very high temperatures recorded across the weekend, which was then followed up cool temperatures and light rain with most areas receiving in and around 10mm. There has been mixed reaction to this with the majority of hay crops now on the ground and the addition of moisture onto these was not enjoyed. Contrary to this, areas where pastures have not hayed off have gained benefit from the additional moisture.

Mustering still continues in some areas of the Pilbarra and Gascoyne and this contributed to the larger yarding at Muchea early in the week and cattle sourced from these areas dominated the yarding. As has been the case in recent times the supplies of locally bred cattle remained limited, well below what would normally have been seen at this time of year and as consequence of the drought conditions of the previous year.

There remained limited supplies of grown cattle and yearling steers and heifers. Vealer volumes were also slightly reduced with very good supplies of cows penned. Quality throughout the classes remained mixed and this did have an affect on competition, irrespective of the market.

Local cows sought after

The smaller supplies of new season locally bred vealers were generally evenly spread throughout the classes with quality remaining reasonable and fair. The very strong recent demand from both the restocker and feeder sectors continued throughout the weight classes of both sexes with little or no change to prices. The small supplies of local trade weight yearling steers and heifers were of a reasonable quality also. Although these recorded a full compliment of trade buyers, prices did ease marginally for both steers and heifers. There was reasonable demand also for the firm volumes of yearling store steers and heifers.

The limited supplies of heavy weight steers and bullocks failed to deter a falling in market prices with both pastoral and locally bred drafts suffering a cheaper trend.

There was a good selection of heavy weigh local cows presented for sale in yards as agents continue to prefer the stronger market conditions in the physical market. Local prime heavy weight cows continued to enjoy strong competition and prices, while a more mixed quality and lighter selection of pastoral cows lacked demand and subsequently realised lower prices.

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Rain reduced supply

Good to useful falls of rain over parts of the supply area reduced supply at physical markets covered by MLAs NLRS by around eight per cent. The Roma prime sale experienced the largest decline of 46 per cent following the rain which restricted the movement of some cattle. Young cattle far outnumbered the supply of grown categories at most selling centres.

Buyer attendance in the young cattle sections at the majority of markets was good, however in places not all the usual export buyers were in attendance. Young cattle in general continued to meet very strong demand from restockers, while replacement heifers and PTIC cows sold to fierce competition. The buying gallery at Roma store sale included an extra southern restocker buyer which helped boost lightweight yearling steers prices 3¢/kg.

Feeder buyers continued to dominate the buying strength on yearling classes and despite a fairly large supply of heavy weights being penned average prices remained unchanged and at some centres gains of 2¢/kg were recorded. The improved competition displayed the previous week by wholesalers and supermarkets continued on the heavyweight yearling steers and heifers and average prices improved in places.

The short supply of heavy steers and bullocks to export slaughter commenced the week on a firm trend. However as the week progressed and larger numbers were penned average prices eased 5¢/kg, nevertheless a selected few top quality bullocks met strong demand. Cows followed a similar trend with the short supply early in the week receiving strong competition, while at mid week markets the heavy end of the cows eased 4¢ to 5¢/kg. Medium weights generally remained unchanged in price.

Export lines cheaper

A few calves returned to the paddock at an average of 234¢ with sales to 289.2¢/kg. A fairly good supply of vealer heifers sold to local and southern processors at 204¢ while butchers paid to the occasional 248¢/kg.

A large selection of lightweight yearling steers sold to restockers at 233¢ with some to 262.2¢/kg. Heavy yearling steers to feed averaged 198¢ and sold to 216.2¢ while slaughter classes averaged 194¢ and sold to 222.6¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers were well supplied and slaughter and feeder descriptions averaged 205¢, while those returning to the paddock averaged 216¢ and made to 234.2¢/kg. Restockers were very interested in a consignment of registered stud heifers and pushed prices up to 398.2¢ with most around 262¢/kg.

Bullocks made to 205.2¢ with most around 5¢ cheaper at 194¢/kg. A of heavy bullocks made to 195¢ to return $1,511/head. Medium weight PTIC cows returned to the paddock around 164¢ with the occasional pen to 183.2¢/kg. Medium weight three score slaughter categories averaged 141¢, and heavy weight three scores lost 3¢ to average 152¢/kg. Good heavy cows on occasions made the same money as the previous week at 181.2¢, nevertheless most were 3¢ cheaper at 162¢/kg.

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Mixed quality

As most centres offered larger numbers, total supply at markets reported by MLA's NLRS increased just under eight per cent. Compared to this time last weeks total supply was almost identical. Young cattle were again in the largest number as Yearlings continued to dominate, representing close to 50 per cent of the states numbers. Grown cattle accounted for 34 per cent of the state yarding which was despite grown heifer numbers doubling on last week.

Quality overall was fair with a number of markets having larger runs of plainer cattle which are being offloaded due to the current strong price levels. There were however well finished and high yielding cattle offered which attracted spirited competition from the trade and processors.

Young cattle sold to a mixed trend while grown cattle were mostly firm to dearer. The vealer steers were firm to 5¢ dearer, while the heifer portion was up to 10¢kg cheaper. Light and medium weight yearling steers were 2¢ to 5¢ cheaper to all orders while the heavy weights gained up to 8¢/kg.Yearling heifers followed the trend of the vealer heifers in suffering losses of 1¢ to 7¢/kg.

Heavy steers and bullocks were firm to slightly dearer as the medium weights predominately to feeders sold to a mixed trend with the leaner lines dearer and the better covered lines being cheaper. The larger numbers of grown heifers were also generally dearer. Light cows continued to be hard to source while medium weights 3¢/kg dearer. Heavy cows on the other hand were not able to maintain their recent high levels to be 1¢ to 4¢/kg cheaper while there were some over condition lines that suffered greater losses.

Mixed prices

Medium weight vealer steers to restockers and the trade were firm to 5¢ dearer with most sales around 240¢/kg. The plainer lines to restockers made closer to 232¢/kg. The light vealer heifers returning to the paddock slipped 10¢ to 223¢ as the medium weights to the trade eased 1¢ to 233¢/kg. Light yearling steers to restockers in large numbers eased 2¢ to 233¢ as those to feeders made closer to 222¢/kg. Medium weight C3s to the trade lost 5¢ to 215¢ as those to feeders and restockers sold from 212¢ to 218¢/kg.

The heavy yearlings though were mostly 1¢ to 8¢ dearer as the feeder lines made from 205¢ to 209¢ and the trade lines made around 208¢/kg. The light yearling heifers to restockers lost 4¢ to 206¢ while feeder purchases were 7¢ cheaper at 203¢/kg. Those to slaughter were mostly around 212¢/kg. Medium weights to feeders held firm at 200¢ as those to slaughter lost 5¢ to 207¢/kg.

Medium and heavy grown steers ranged from 195¢ to 200¢ with sales to 210¢/kg. Good bullocks averaged 195¢/kg. Light C3 grown heifers improved 3¢ to averaged 183¢/kg. Medium weight D3 cows improved 3¢ to average 157¢ as good heavy cows slipped to 164¢/kg.

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Increased numbers

While the SA LE's numbers retreated in mixed quality runs of mainly young cattle, Naracoorte and Mt. Gambier had increased yardings as the South East moves into its normal spring selling season. Millicent had an increased numbered yarding and is now operating weekly.

The SA LE's yarding sold to a generally dearer trend, with competition from local and interstate trade and processor buyers being boosted by additional feeder and restocker orders from the Eyre Peninsula. Small numbers of vealers attracted solid demand with the steers cheaper and the heifers dearer. Yearling steers and heifers to the trade were generally dearer, with feeder and restocker prices variable. Small lines of grown and manufacturing steers and grown heifers sold to fluctuating demand, while the small yarding of cows was dearer.

Quality improved in the South East on runs of local and pastoral bred cattle and sold to strong trade and processor competition from most of the usual SA and Victorian buyers. Feeder and restocker orders were to the fore on a mixture of vealers, yearlings and bulls. It tended to be a week of fluctuating prices, with isolated sales being dearer where quality suited, while being cheaper on the balance. There were some very good quality pastoral bred medium weight yearling heifers at Naracoorte that sold to a top of 200¢/kg.

Grown steers and bullocks were generally cheaper as the A$ rises above parity again. Mt. Gambier yarding just under 1,000 steers in what has become the largest supply centre in Southern Australia with steers drawn from the South East and South West Victoria.

Fluctuating prices

While the SALE attracted improved prices, the increased numbers in the South East sold at lower levels. Vealer steers to the trade sold between 200¢ and 256¢ with isolated sales 8¢ dearer and most others 4¢ to 10¢/kg less. Feeder and restocker purchases of C2 steers were from 205¢ to 235¢ or 1¢ to 2¢/kg dearer.

Vealer heifers tended to sell from 175¢ to 257¢ with lightweights at the higher end, to vary from 3¢ to 6¢ dearer and unchanged to 5¢/kg cheaper. Yearling steer B and C muscled sales were from 170¢ to 220¢, with B2 sales 5¢ dearer and most others 1¢ to 10¢/kg less.

Feeders and restockers purchased C2 and C3 steers from 156¢ to 215¢/kg at varying price trends. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 sales to the trade sold between 173¢ to 215¢/kg at basically unchanged prices. Pastoral bred heifers sold from 162¢ to 200¢/kg.

Grown steer and bullock C3 to C5 sales were generally from 180¢ to 199¢, to be 2¢ to 5¢ cheaper and mainly 320¢ to 355¢/kg cwt. D3 to C6 medium and heavy beef cows were unchanged to 4¢ cheaper as most sold from 135¢ to 172¢, or 275¢ to 315¢/kg cwt.

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Grown cattle dominate

There was a 34 per cent increase in supply at MLA's NLRS reported markets as all centres offered greater numbers with Wodonga and Warrnambool realising the largest gains. This assisted in creating differing trends across the state. Young cattle accounted for around 30 per cent of the states throughput which was similar to the total number of cows penned. With recent prices being strong, grown steer throughput increase 54 per cent.

Early in the week, competition was strong for heavy yearlings and grown cattle, but showed signs of easing for vealers and light yearlings which was due to retailers reportedly experiencing slow meat sales. As yardings increased across all markets, demand eased, and prices were anywhere up to 10¢/kg cheaper. Due to such a large jump in numbers, the most affected were grown steers and bullocks.

Young cattle peaked at 269.6¢/kg as numerous sales of good quality vealers and yearlings were above 230¢/kg. Prices eased at Shepparton and Wodonga, and as the week progressed a cheaper trend was also evident at other markets. A slightly cheaper trend was also experienced across the eastern states as the benchmark EYCI slipped 1.75¢ week on week to 396.75¢/kg cwt at the completion of Thursday's markets. The EYCI remains 31¢/kg cwt higher compared to the corresponding time last year.

Across all market quality of grown cattle has been very good. This has given processors the potential to secure cattle with good dressing percentages and meat yields. Most grown cattle were at least 6¢/kg cheaper. The much larger supply of bullocks was dealt the greatest falls, as manufacturing steers and cows eased 2¢ to 6¢/kg.

Cheaper trend

As vealers accounted for just eight per cent of the states yarding, prices for were mostly between 195¢ and 250¢/kg with most being purchased by the trade. There were some good quality supplementary fed yearlings, which made from 200¢ to 255¢/kg. Pasture fed yearling steers sold to 235¢ early in the week then settled to range from 195¢ to 218¢/kg.

Heavy yearling steers sold between 192¢ and 212¢/kg. A lot of yearling heifers are being offered, and prices varied greatly with a supermarket placing a solid floor in the market. The best quality made between 198¢ and 225¢, while others varied between 168¢ and 198¢/kg.

The large influx of heavy grown steers and bullocks led to lower prices with the leaner heavy steers most affected. Monday sales generally ranged from 195¢ to 209¢/kg. However, by the end of the week sales were mostly from 182¢ to 198¢/kg. The same story applied to cows with early sale of good quality ranging from 152¢ to 175¢, only to end the week with most sales from 148¢ to 165¢/kg. The carcass weight price average for the week was estimated to be 319¢/kg, with processors the beneficiaries of potentially better yields.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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