JULY has ended, and although this is traditionally one of the wettest and coldest months, southern producers have been subject to frosts, rain and early spring temperatures.
What has this done to market supply and price trends?
Across the past four weeks there have been slight improvements for young cattle, while grown cattle prices have fluctuated a little each way.
The main improver has been cows with prices lifting each week.
However, this has seen a lot of cows offered at National Livestock Reporting Service-reported sales with producers clearing stock and taking advantage of these higher prices.
Because this happened again this week, and processors have continued to travel north and into central regions to source cows, prices have varied this week.
The general trend was for a slight easing in cow prices, although some individual sales were a little dearer.
Prices for the best quality cows were slightly under done and several quotes by the NLRS were around and up to 158 cents per kilogram liveweight.
This was a few cents short week-on-week, but with some processors not supporting all markets this week, heavier price falls were seen.
Camperdown was quoted as having two less processors present, and the highest price here was 145c/kg – up to 12c/kg lwt lower.
Dairy cows mostly sold at unchanged rates with any lower averages due mostly to poor quality.
The carcase weight price average was around 288c/kg by Tuesday evening.
There was a drop in quality at young cattle sales, but restockers were quoted as lifting their demand and increasing some prices.
While there was a good selection of quality young cattle penned, a large percentage was supplementary and grain-fed cattle.
Local trade buyers bid well for these assisted cattle and prices were mostly unchanged.
The best quality B muscle vealers sold to 227c/kg, while grain-assisted yearlings generally fetched 200-220c/kg lwt, at times regardless of weight.
Feedlot buyers were not quite as keen this week and prices were unchanged to 5c/kg easier.
A run of steers to feed cost between 175-195c/kg, while a number of heifers were purchased from 145-175c/kg lwt.
Letting the side down this week was demand for some of the plain condition cattle, particularly heifers.
Prices slipped badly at times with a sale of plain D1 Angus heifers only making 110c/kg lwt.
These were snapped up by a restocker.
In between these prices were a good number of young cattle that were reasonably well finished and made from 165-195c/kg.
Quality yearling steers sold at similar prices, the best was 210c/kg lwt at Pakenham on Monday.
At Wodonga on Tuesday, heavier steers sold to 200c, although prices around most sales were 188-195c/kg.
Prime bullock prices varied, although a lot were in good condition, some were classified as D muscle bullocks, and a number of pens weighed up to 800kg lwt.
The best prices for bullocks were seen at Leongatha early in the reporting time frame, at 197c, this week most have been from 180-192c/kg.