CATTLE prices edged slightly higher in a week of increased volume at the major saleyards.
While most agents and saleyards are tipping for a quiet winter, prices for trade cattle firmed three to six cents a kilogram liveweight while heavier grown cattle ground out an extra one to two cents in value.
The cow market, which at this time of the year normally supplies the major portion of throughput, gained three and up to seven cents value despite an easing in the export rate that was again squeezed by a further firming of the Australian dollar value.
Meat & Livestock Australia has said prices in the US imported beef market were up slightly last week but the escalation in the Australian dollar had wiped out all and more of this advantage.
MLA says US end-users are reluctant to entertain higher prices amid the uncertainty of the swine flu outbreak and how ground beef sales will fare over their summer period starting with the Memorial Day holiday on May 25 which is a traditional beef-eaters’ day.
In local markets quality rather than price fluctuations was the main talking point this week.
Wodonga auctioneer, Michael Unthank of Brian Unthank Rodwells, said that quality at the main northeast market at Wodonga on Tuesday was at best plain with a few trucks of well finished fed-stock included.
Vealers he said were scarce and made to 215c/kg lwt. Trade yearling steers struggled to hold firm rates at 170- 180c/kg lwt before topping at 200c/kg lwt.
The best price improver on the day according to Mr Unthank was feeder heifers which made 165-175c/kg lwt to almost match major feedlot offers of 180c/kg lwt.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said heavy steer and bullock prices eased by as much as 7c/kg to average 163c/kg lwt. A pen of milk and two–tooth grown steers topped at 171c/kg.
*For full market analysis see Stock & Land, May 7.
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