JANUARY 2017 may have just set the price trends for the coming year. Wodonga agents offered 11,000 cattle over the first two days of weaner sales, which was larger than the previous year.
Despite the large sell during the first six months of 2016, the very good season from October forward, led to larger markets at Wodonga.
However, higher weights, better quality, and the potential for better prices saw a good number of steers and heifers penned that could have well been in fat cattle markets. The question for producers was, where will they achieve the most money? Well that question has certainly been answered. Both Hamilton and Casterton sales are liveweight sales, and Wodonga are dollars per head with most weights displayed, and liveweight prices were consistently 20-50 cents per kilogram liveweight above physical sales.
At the Wodonga sales, there were a number of yearling steers and heifers penned too, and these sold better as well with weight determining the level of competition.
With producers sending some fat cattle to these sales, because of the better money, processors and feedlots are targeting fat cattle markets to secure a supply at prices closer to what they are offering over the hooks, or direct into feedlots.
Hamilton, Monday, saw a large percentage of the cattle purchased by processors for feeder steers and heifers. This is because they normally attend and purchase at this and Wodonga markets, although they bought most at the Western district sales.
This says to me, two things. First, it indicates that they are prepared to pay above average prices for supply, being there will be around 40,000 cattle sold in the annual January sales this year. Second, they appreciate the overall lack of supply going forward.
To indicate the need for restockers and feedlots to purchase cattle at physical with more cattle being sold at these annual markets, and for that matter the usual store cattle sales, I will quote from MLA’s Wagga Wagga report, Monday.
Market reporter, Leann Dax said “There were a few more feedlot orders, which influenced higher market prices”.
This has occurred at other markets this week, aiding a general price increase across the board.
The Western District sales usually sell to solid competition for EU accredited steers and heifers, but this year, Wodonga producers could say they benefited too.
There was a definite benefit of 10-30c/kg lwt for EU cattle at Wodonga this year. To emphasise this was the sale of 531 Angus steers sold by Davilak Pastoral Co, Mansfield, through Corcoran Parker at Wodonga. These steers averaged 428c/kg in liveweight price terms.
The Hamilton weaner sale, Monday, saw all of the steers average 385c/kg, and the Wodonga sales, although open auction, also showed very high price averages, both for steers and heifers.
The heifers portion of both sale days at Wodonga, sold mostly between 365 & 385c/kg lwt equivalent. These, and the steers, revelled in the higher prices compared to physical sales.
I can only include all of this information into conclusion for predictions for cattle prices of 2017, going forward, as very strong. It will not take too long for supply to dwindle, as once all of the annual sales have finished in Victoria by the end of April, what will be left to buy.