Supply eases and quality falls

Supply eases and quality falls


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MIDDLE of May and supply is slipping away with all of MLA’s reported cattle markets showing decline, some being quite a bit lower.

MIDDLE of May and supply is slipping away with all of MLA’s reported cattle markets showing decline, some being quite a bit lower.

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Equally, all of these markets recorded a further drop in quality. Numerous cool nights, with some frosty mornings in the north and north east, now affecting the condition of cattle.

Is this having a positive effect on prices, in some places yes, but in most categories averages were easing back.

A quieter day at Pakenham, Monday, gave some of the buyers time to lose track of the market, and get up to some antics, as can be seen by this photo.

A quieter day at Pakenham, Monday, gave some of the buyers time to lose track of the market, and get up to some antics, as can be seen by this photo.

While quality is dropping there are a number of manufacturing and secondary cattle coming in, as producers do not want to take then through the winter.

Restocker activity continues to drive high prices in the north eastern markets with many of the lighter weight steers and heifers selling from 365-417 cents per kilogram liveweight.

Professional feedlots appear less keen, and this was indicated by prices easing by 3-6c/kg on average. Feeder steers sold mostly from 320-365c, to average 332c/kg at Wagga Wagga, Monday.

The high percentage of cattle returning to the paddock, or being grain fed, remains high at most markets.

Vealers sold well again this week with the top prices ranging from 370-388c/kg, although supply eases back each week now.

Grainfed, or grain assisted cattle dominate the quality section of most trade purchases. Prices were mainly between 335 and 378c/kg lwt for steers and heifers.

Processors are now getting much of their supply of quality cattle from feedlots, or their own grainfed supply. This is now tempering the demand at physical sales.

It is really only the major markets that have a reasonable supply of trade cattle, as all of the smaller centres are offering only a few head. This can distort ones opinion of price trends at times.

Similarly, grown steers, bullocks and grown heifers make up only a small portion of some sales. Therefore, one needs to seek out cattle markets that are offering more than 100 of any given category.

Leongatha, is by far the main selling centre, again offering more than 600 bullocks and grown steers on Wednesday. While early sales showed cheaper trends, the largest run of good quality bullocks were firm making from 310-334c/kg.

So far this week, the top bullock prices is 325c/kg, but the competition is very good at Leongatha each week.

Competition for cows appears to have settled somewhat, although price trends still vary between markets. The general run of beef cows sold from 235-270c with some markets only reaching 245c/kg.

As the US grinding beef market continues to improve, stronger demand for the leaner cows is improving. Prices were mostly between 185 and 230c/kg lwt.

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