Cow prices on the long road back

By By Murray Arnel
Updated January 5 2016 - 6:13pm, first published October 4 2007 - 11:00pm

Competition was weaker across the board for young cattle in saleyard markets this week while demand for cows bucked the trend to recoup recent heavy losses.The stronger demand for cows came in spite of increased numbers in the north of the state especially at Shepparton where 1400 of the 2000 export cattle penned were cows. The closure of all interstate markets on Monday due to public holidays in NSW, South Australia and Queensland this week helped to stem the flow of cattle from the other states, and the main stoppage caused was at Wagga Wagga, NSW, where numbers swelled to 5000 last week.At Shepparton on Tuesday the demand for cows was helped by stronger northern processor inquiry and Queensland’s largest exporters AMH and Teys Bros both placed orders.Shepparton saleyard manager Jock Hicks said while an increased number of dairy choppers were offered extra beef cows were also listed, including an alarming percentage of joined and springing beef heifers.The National Livestock Report-ing Service (NLRS) quoted sales of heavy beef and dairy cows at Shepparton as 2-6 cents a kilogram liveweight higher while medium and lighter dairy choppers made unchanged to easier rates.Heavy dairy cows made 88-124c/kg while beef cows topped at 131c. Medium weight cows made 82-105c.Cows sold in the south on Tuesday at Camperdown were also dearer, were prices improved by 10-15c/kg.The NLRS said medium weight cows made 88-109c/kg or 250c/kg while heavy cows made the higher prices of 112-126c/kg or 260c/kg.At Pakenham on Tuesday, demand for beef cows was stronger by 3-8c/kg and 11-17c/kg better for plainer cows. Weaker demand saw best quality bullocks fetch firm rates of 154-169c/kg while other bullocks were 3-5c/kg cheaper.Manufacturing bullocks made 116-159c/kg.A much larger penning of young cattle offered at Wodonga on Tuesday meant the yarding sized stretched to 3965 head aided no doubt by a seepage of young stock normally earmarked for sales at Wagga Wagga.The NLRS said yearling grass-fed cattle, reflecting the spring conditions, met weaker demand to average 5-10c/kg lower. Yearling steers made to 189.6c/kg, average 156c/kg while yearling heifers made 120-160c/kg with most sales pitched in the low to mid 140s.Prime lightweight vealers made to 173c/kg and averaged nine cents dearer the service said.A mixed selection of heavy grown steers was sold two cents dearer as the well-finished pens made 143-168c/kg. Bullock prices eased five cents making 152-160c/kg.At Pakenham a larger and improved quality trade cattle yarding on Monday contained mixed results. Prices varied between 10c/kg higher and 10c/kg lower with plain conditioned cattle hardest to sell.The NLRS claimed competition and interest among trade buyers ebbed and flowed but competition from feedlot buyers and restockers was stronger with higher prices paid.B-muscled young cattle were sold mostly between 185-215c/kg while C-muscled grades fetched 150-195c/kg. Plain quality types fetched 110-165c/kg.The benchmark eastern young cattle indictor (EYCI) finished the week (Tuesday) at 294c/kg, dipping 4.5c. This is the lowest level for the ECYI since the opening week of sales in January earlier this year and is more than 12 per cent lower than a year ago.

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