Here we are, another week closer to an autumn break. You don’t think so? Well it always rains at the end of summer, it is just a matter of when.
Much of the cattle coming to prime markets are slipping in condition and processors are making allowances for a decreasing yield.
This is in part the main reason for current pricing. Following the markets, one can see cattle that are still in their prime selling at recent levels.
I have noticed that heifers, especially those in their late teens and early twenties, are selling to the least demand. When times get tough, heifers are one of the first to sell at cheaper rates.
Seriously, I have to look at the few bigger markets of Leongatha, Barnawartha, Mortlake and Shepparton to understand sensible market trends.
Smaller markets are just marking time at the moment, except for Swan Hill.
This market offered just short of 300 head for it’s fortnightly sale with weather and the downturn in herd numbers affecting their supply. However, their MLA report showed a significant increase in prices - but this only brought them equal to other solid sales seen this week.
Considering most districts are now affected by the dry summer, these larger markets still draw some very good quality.
Wagga Wagga on the other hand, continues to draw mostly plainer condition steers and heifers. On Monday, this market leaped ahead, offering 3560 head a lift of 50pc on the previous week.
More than 2200 of these were yearling steers and heifers, most of which were purchased by feedlots and restockers.
Comments passed around on Monday were that direct selling was difficult too as processors, particularly export plants, are saying they are full until after February. Remember, this is full up at a lower working capacity. If the export market improves, they may wish to return to full capacity. Until then?
Demand from feedlots in particular, was weaker and prices were adjusted accordingly. Most steers sold between 248&308c, which was on average 15c/kg lwt cheaper. Similar heifers made from 235-295c/kg.
At Barnawartha, vealer prices rose with the best quality selling from 290-320c/kg, elsewhere mostly 280-310c/kg lwt.
Grown steer and bullock prices are most interesting. In bigger markets, the best quality have sold from 260-276c/kg. It is the base price at other markets that concern me, with sales reported from 225-255c/kg lwt.
Cow prices were again weaker across the board, most better quality cows sold from 195-225c with plain, lean cows at 100-175c/kg lwt.