In focus: South-east South Australia

05 November 2015

Like many regions in Australia, south-east South Australia is having a drier than average spring for the second consecutive year. The three month rainfall for the region (August to October) this year was just 25-100mm which, despite being below average, is an improvement on 2014 which received 25-50mm. 

Cattle consigned to the main selling centres of south-east South Australia  reflected the dry conditions. Throughput in Mount Gambier for October dropped 39% year-on-year while Naracoorte remained reasonably close to year-ago levels, but this followed a 31% year-on-year decline in September. Quality remains relatively consistent, however an increased number of vealers were sold which is earlier than usual and stock that would normally be traded as finished cattle were entering the market a year younger, with producers reportedly capitalising on the high prices.

After peaking in September, cattle prices were volatile through October, however this week;

  • Restockers purchased heavy C3 yearling steers at Naracoorte between 255¢ and 288¢ to average 275.8¢/kg lwt.
  • Processors bought heavy yearling heifers for an average of 267.5¢, down 4¢/kg week-on-week.
  • Heavy vealer C3 steers at Mount Gambier sold for an average 304.4¢, while B3 descriptions averaged 316.8¢/kg lwt, up 5¢/kg.
  • Heavy D3 cows to processors returned 236.3¢ at Mount Gambier, up 5¢ while those in Naracoorte averaged 231.3¢, back 2¢/kg week-on-week.

Lamb throughput for new seasons in October was back 30% year-on-year at Naracoorte and 21% at Mount Gambier. Despite the conditions, the heavier categories are still well supplied at Naracoorte and are of good quality. Store lamb quality, however is falling away as the season deteriorates, with those on lighter country continuing to destock. Mount Gambier has been consigning very few store lambs and is yarding fewer new season lambs than what is usual for this time of year.

This week;

  • 2 score light crossbred new season lambs to restockers at Naracoorte were up 5¢, averaging 577¢/kg cwt.
  • Light trade new season lambs at Naracoorte sold to processors for a top of 524¢ and averaged 503¢, up 14¢/kg cwt.
  • At Mount Gambier, new season heavy trade and heavy 3 score lambs returned 500¢ and 488¢ to be 16¢ and 15¢/kg cwt dearer, respectively.

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