What can I say? Last week’s fat cattle prices were easier again, but this week started even worse, despite a reduction in supply.
Justifying this comment, one only needs to look at Pakenham and Wagga Wagga markets from Monday.
Pakenham agents yarded just 373 cattle Monday, and the better quality yarding included several pens of very good quality, grain fattened Charolais steers and heifers.
Owner Leo Kelly, Edenhope, said “While it is cheaper, it is not as bad for me, as these were cattle I bred, and fed with grain I grew”. However, weighing around 460-560 kilograms liveweight, and making just 278-292c/kg, it was not a good result.
These cattle, and many others were 10-20c/kg lwt cheaper. MLA’s Wagga Wagga market report, showed even larger declines in price averages.
While much of the 20-50c/kg drop was seen in restocker categories, it was a good indication of what producers think of the current price trends for finished cattle.
Also noted at Pakenham was prime bullock prices. While there was only two or three pens of good quality bullocks penned, at 276-286c/kg, their potential carcass weight prices was around 503c/kg.
This was the main reason why bullock fatteners were very shy about buying cattle at Bairnsdale Tuesday.
There was not one market spared from declining supply, nor falling prices. Some of the smaller offerings, Monday, could be blamed on the very harsh weather, Sunday, but producers are finally coming to terms with cheaper prices.
The EYCI figure at the close of trade, Monday, was 566.25c, a fall of 132.5c/kg, year on year.
While there are few vealers on offer, the very best sold to 365c/kg at Warragul last Wednesday, and most sales this week have been from 320-345c/kg.
Export processors are still struggling with weaker trade, and the value of the Australian Dollar. While comparisons in Victorian markets for bullocks are lower, bear in mind, northern prices.
At Toowoomba, Monday, the market indicator for prime bullocks was only 462c, and the cow indicator was just 426c/kg.
The bigger issues continue to be the lack of killing hours, and the poor export trading, putting prime cuts back onto the local market.
So far there has been little decline in retail prices, which could be expected while the retail sector try to recoup some sense of lost profit.
However, for prices to stabilize, consumers need to see a drop in retail prices.
Cow prices have been the least affected so far, with the best quality still around 250-262c/kg. The leaner types have dropped back with most selling from 175-210c.