Weekly 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 4 November 2011
clock icon 11 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

Queensland weekly cattle summary

Steady supply

Supply varied from centre to centre, nevertheless across physical markets covered by MLA’s NLRS numbers remained virtually unchanged. More rain over the supply area at Warwick reduced numbers, while Mareeba almost doubled.

The overall quality of the young cattle was very mixed, while the standard of the export lines was relatively good with some fair samples of four score heavy steers and bullocks, and most of the cows were in the three and four score ranges. Buyer attendance for young cattle was good with representatives covering trade, feeder and restocker lines. Most of the exporters were present at some markets however not all were operating, while the late week sales saw a number of regular export buyers absent.

Young cattle generally sold to strong demand particularly the certified grainfeds. Restockers remained very active on light yearling steers and this demand also flowed onto the light yearling heifers. Values for feeders remained generally unchanged with any variations to average prices attributed to a slip in quality with the large run of well bred lines the previous week absent from the selling pens.

Export slaughter lines of heavy steers and bullocks experienced a mixed trend. Heavy steers received very little change in price as wholesalers and supermarkets stepped up into the young classes in the early to mid-500 kg live-weight range, while bullocks lost around 4¢/kg. A fair consignment of over conditioned full mouth heavy bullocks met a very subdued market. Cows also suffered price corrections with the better condition lines 3¢ to 6¢/kg cheaper, while those in the lower fat score ranges were the least affected.

Bullocks and cows cheaper

Calves returned to the paddock at an average of 227¢ with some to 274.2¢/kg. Vealer steers also to restockers made to a top of 265.2¢ to average 238¢/kg. Despite a large number of vealer heifers being penned local and southern processors lifted average prices by 6¢ to 212¢ with local butchers paying to 247.2¢/kg. Lightweight yearling steers returned to the paddock at an average of 237¢ with sales to 262.2¢/kg. Medium weights to feed generally sold around 224¢ with some well bred lines to 246.2¢/kg. Once again a fairly large selection of heavyweights to feed averaged 204¢ and made to 213.2¢/kg.

Certified grainfeds were in demand and made to 229.2¢ to average 223¢/kg. Lightweight yearling heifers to the trade restockers and feed generally sold from 213¢ to 218¢ with some returning to the paddock at 238.2¢/kg.

Heavy steers to slaughter remained close to firm at 192¢ with sales to 203.2¢/kg. Bullocks made to 196.2¢ to average 4¢ less at 191¢/kg. Very heavy full mouth over conditioned bullocks made to 153.2¢ to average 143¢/kg. Medium weight three score cows lost 3¢ to average 142¢ and good heavy cows were 6¢ cheaper at 160¢/kg.

New South Wales weekly cattle summary

Cattle numbers firm

Cattle throughput at markets reported by MLA’s NLRS fell a marginal two per cent, with several mixed yarding trends across the state. It signals the second consecutive week that supplies have been flat, with no large increases in numbers observed since winter. However, numbers were five per cent higher than the corresponding week in 2010. A large influx of western bred cattle helped boost throughput 48 per cent at Dubbo, while numbers also edged higher at CTLX and Tamworth. Other markets had fewer cattle, with some weekend rain limiting numbers early in the week.

The condition of young cattle was particularly mixed, with a higher proportion of lightweight and slightly under conditioned lines yarded. This may be in response to the warmer temperatures, with producers moving cattle prior to the heat of summer as well as the forthcoming grain harvest. However, a large portion of the state still has an excellent feed bank, and this should translate into the supply of heavier trade cattle. Grown cattle numbers have tightened in recent week, however quality has held on. The majority of the cows offered were heavy weights, and these heavy cull cows are bringing producers in excess of $800/head.

Processor demand took a backward step, with a number of processors adjusting over the hook (OTH) rates downwards. Slaughter volumes have lifted recently, with producers eager to sell prime cattle, given heavyweight yearling and grown steers are making at least 345¢/kg cwt. Cow rates also edged lower, with external factors such as the volatile A$ and sluggish international demand shaping the market.

Restockers prominent

Lightweight store vealer and yearling steers and heifers attracted strong optimistic restocker demand, with confidence still strong. Restockers secured light vealer steers from 227¢ to 285¢, as mostly paid around 256¢/kg or $433/head. A large run of light yearling steers returning to the paddock generally sold from 195¢ to 258¢, to average 5¢ higher on 239¢/kg. Medium yearling steer and heifers to feed were firm to slightly cheaper, with feedlot competition easing from last week. This left most C2 pens selling from 215¢ to 229¢, while the few heavy weights returned 203¢/kg.

Medium weight vealer heifers to butcher and trade orders were scarcer, mainly selling around 233¢/kg. Heavy yearling heifers to the trade were firm on 190¢, while the steer section topped at 219¢ and averaged 199¢/kg.

A higher number of under conditioned grown steers were yarded, and this meant a few more pens were brought by feedlots. The C2 to feed made around 201¢, while the C3’s to feed averaged 193¢/kg. The prime heavyweight C3 steers to slaughter topped at 193¢ and averaged 5¢ cheaper on 183¢/kg. The C4 bullocks reached 191¢ and settled on 186¢/kg or $1,173/head. Medium and heavy cows sold to weaker competition, with medium weight D3s averaging 148¢/kg.

Victoria weekly cattle summary

Disrupted trading week

Supply was impacted by the public holiday, even though only Pakenham did not operate on Tuesday. Just Colac late in the week was able to offer greater numbers while total throughput was down almost 40 per cent and compared to the same disrupted trading week last year supply was up just six per cent. Wodonga was the only market to offer substantial numbers and accounted for just on 30% of the states cattle reported by MLA’s NLRS.

Sales held early in the week were notably cheaper, but by Wednesday demand improved, predominantly due to the tightened supply. From the outset, it was noticeable that vealer demand was rather subdued with a number of markets realising falls of up to 15¢/kg. This reduction however was from some high prices in recent weeks. Prices for yearling varied from 5¢ cheaper to 5¢/kg dearer. Wodonga however was 5¢ dearer for yearlings to the trade, and this trend flowed onto markets later in the week.

The value of the $A has fluctuated significantly over the course of the past ten days, which may made trading difficult for processors. Despite grown cattle supply representing 60% of the states total yarding, the overall reduced supply, and the good quality offered led to prices increasing 2¢ and 6¢/kg later in the week.

This was after grown cattle at early markets were selling around 5¢/kg either side of firm. It was also evident that a number of over conditioned cows were bringing returns that were well above what could be expected if they were traded OTH.

Cheaper trend

While few vealers were penned, those yarded were of a high standard, with most being medium and heavy weights. Most vealer steers made from 218¢ to 230¢/kg as some of this season’s vealers were offered from the Mornington Peninsula, which made from 235¢ to 259¢/kg. Yearling steers and heifers sold to steady demand, particularly those potentially with a high meat yield although prices were over a wide range.

Heavy weight yearling steers to feeders averaged 198¢ as those to the trade mostly sold from 195¢ to 199¢/kg. Medium weight yearling heifers to feed averaged 184c as heavy weights to the trade sold closer to 189¢/kg. Some plainer muscled heavy weights made around 174¢/kg.

There was a large decline grown steer, bullock and cow numbers . The very good season has resulted in some very heavy cattle being offered, and there is starting to be greater numbers of over conditioned lines. Heavy C3 grown steers eased 2¢ to 185¢ as the C4s averaged 191¢/kg. Bullocks sold around 186¢/kg. Most medium and heavy dairy cows ranged from 132¢ to 148¢ with some large framed lines making to 159¢/kg. Heavy D4 beef cows made to 165.6c to average 155¢ which was down 3¢/kg.

South Australia weekly cattle summary

Increased numbers

There was an increased sized yarding at the SA LE that were generally in mixed quality runs. They sold to an easing trend due the limited input from the local and interstate trade and processor buyers, with the absence of one Victorian buyer exacerbating the problem. Naracoorte’s and Millicent’s numbers increased, while Mt. Gambier had a slightly smaller yarding.

At the SA LE local and Riverland feeder and restocker buyers were operating and sourcing lightweight vealer and yearling steers at generally lower levels. Vealers were a scarce commodity that left local butchers and wholesalers scrambling to source supplies, as most of the steers sold to feeder inquiry.

Light and medium weight yearling steers also attracted their attention. Most trade purchases of yearling steers and heifers were cheaper, as limited sales rose above the 200¢/kg mark. Small lines of grown steers, grown heifers and manufacturing steers also lost ground. However, the increased cow yarding while selling to processors at lower prices, were dearer to restocker activity.

The South East yardings generally featured good quality runs, with a number of supplementary fed pens and some steers finished on lucerne pastures at Naracoorte attracting strong demand. Most of the usual SA and interstate trade and processor buyers were operating in sales that tended to sell at mainly lower prices with only isolated sales being dearer where quality suited more than one buyer.

Feeder and restocker orders were also able to generally lower their prices as the larger numbers now seems to be definitely in play as the South East enters its normal Spring, early Summer selling period.

Erratic competition

While most buyers tried to lower their prices, it was an erratically priced week particularly where quality suited. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 190¢ to 250¢ at prices 2¢ to 12¢ cheaper, with only isolated sales unchanged. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 and C3 Angus lightweights from 190¢ to 230¢, or 2¢ to 5¢/kg dearer overall. Vealer heifers to the trade sold generally between 180¢ and 242¢ at prices 3¢ to 4¢ dearer for the B muscled, and 6¢ to 10¢/kg cheaper on the balance.

Yearling steer C3 medium and heavyweights sold from 170¢ to 212¢ to be 7¢ to 8¢/kg less. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 and C3 mainly Angus steers from 182¢ to 205¢/kg. Yearling heifer medium and heavyweights sold from 160¢ to 204¢/kg at slightly lower levels.

Grown steer and bullock were generally from 165¢ to 194¢ with an isolated sale at 200¢, to be 2¢ to 5¢ cheaper and averaging 330¢/kg cwt. While some prime quality cows were 1¢ to 2¢ dearer, the balance were unchanged to 6¢ cheaper, as most better beef cows sold from 136¢ to 164¢ or 255¢ to 300¢/kg cwt.

Western Australia weekly cattle summary

Cow numbers solid

Rain has dominated the weather pattern across much of the state over the past couple of weeks and this was again the case recently. Heavy rain was recorded across a wide area and this has hampered harvesting activity of both grain and hay.

Much of the hay has reportedly been that badly damaged that it is not worth baling. Sprouting in grain has also been reported and with further rain forecast over the next week it would seem that this situation will only worsen.

For areas in south western regions were pastures are still green there will be benefit, but generally the late rain has brought only negative effects. Conditions in the northern pastoral regions remain solid with good early rain having been recorded in the Kimberly region.

The supplies of cattle at physical markets remained only moderate for this time of year. Muchea continued to be the largest of the weekly sales, followed by the Great Southern sale.

Pastoral cattle supplies continued to dominate Muchea’s sale, even though the numbers of these have begun to decline. The supplies of heavy weight steers, bullocks and grown heifer all remain tight, while there were slightly improved numbers of locally bred trade weight yearlings.

Yearling store supplies were improved, by vealer supplies continued to be only moderate. The strong market conditions in recent times for cows continued to encourage solid numbers to be forwarded to physical markets and this week was no exception with good numbers recorded at all centres.

Store demand continues

The moderate supplies of vealers continued to be predominately light and medium with very limited numbers of heavy weights available. With the strong current pasture supplies many producers are keen to grow their vealers out this year, but with the seasonal vealer sales scheduled to start within the month it shouldn’t be long before these heavy weights are penned. Demand from restockers and feeders for vealers remained very strong throughout the classes, despite many feeders still commenting they are yet to sign forward contracts. Trade weight yearling demand eased with less competition recorded between the trade, feeders and restockers with slight reductions in prices recorded.

Processor demand for heavy weight steers, bullocks and grown heavy weight heifers increased with al grades enjoying higher prices throughout the week.

There was continued solid quality and weight recorded in the cow yarding. Processor demand remains high and the market realised a slight increases in overall prices throughout the classes of locally bred drafts. Heavy weight bull demand started the week at dearer levels but declined as the week progressed with the average remaining similar.

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