Analysing market trends was not an easy task, when one could expect stronger demand given the weaker supply of trade cattle, and bullocks.
However, the smaller the market the weaker the demand, despite most of the regular buyers attending sales. Despite some good quality cattle being offered, prices were generally lower.
Having said this, butcher competition for top quality vealers can be quite fierce at times, and at Wangaratta, last Thursday, a couple of single vealers, 360 kilograms and over, sold to 411.2 cents per kilogram liveweight. Such is the shortage of these top quality calves. The same scenario cannot be said for other classes of cattle though.
Generally, top prices eased back 3-8c/kg over most classes. Vealers sold mostly from 330-365c with quality, lighter weight calves, best suiting the Sydney wholesale market, at the upper levels.
Again this week, restockers and feedlot operators dominated the bidding, especially at Wagga Wagga and Wodonga. Seasonally, quality is fair to poor, and the prices paid are reflecting more and more, the dropping store cattle prices.
Most steers returning to the paddock, or going for grain feeding, sold between 320&360c with isolated sales to 374c/kg lwt. Heifers of a similar ilk, sold from 270-345c/kg. The two larger markets of Wagga Wagga and Shepparton continued with larger percentages purchased for the above purposes.
Despite the lack of better quality trade weight steers, demand remained low, and few grass finished steers sold over 320c/kg. Only grain assisted steers sold to higher levels, but these too were cheaper selling to 335c/kg at the top.
Better quality heifers, which last week peaked around 330c/kg, struggled to make over 320c/kg this week. In fact, those of better quality, but lesser shape sold mostly between 275&305c/kg.
Bullocks also sung to a similar tune with only a few top quality ox selling to 308c/kg. The supply of these is very limited, which is part of the reason behind lower averages. Most bullocks sold from 288-306c/kg lwt.
Although selling to cheaper trends, the best beef cows were still high, making to 270c/kg. However, most sold from 235-259c/kg. Better quality dairy, and lean beef cows sold from 205-235c, while the lighter, and poorer condition cows sold from 125-195c/kg, showing some of the larger price falls.
Bulls also sold at cheaper rates with most making from 250-298c/kg.