Stronger market draws large numbers

21 March 2018

Many producers across NSW and Queensland have been enticed by the recent surge in cattle prices, evident in the huge numbers presented at saleyards over the last week.

Increased supply

Saleyard throughput in Queensland rose 87% from the previous week to almost 24,000 head, with the return of Roma Prime sale and the largest yarding at Dalby for five years (just over 8,000 head).

There were 38% more cattle penned across NSW at close to 35,700 head, with most selling centres recording an increase. Numbers at Dubbo (7,100 head) lifted 25% week-on-week, Wagga (4,750 head) increased 16%, while CTLX (4,160 head), Tamworth (3,460 head) and Gunnedah (3,115 head) were 78%, 42%, and 44% higher, respectively.

Under the weight of increased supply, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) held up relatively well. The Indicator fluctuated over the course of the week, but remained above 560¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), finishing the week at 561.75¢/kg cwt. Of some of the larger contributing markets last week, EYCI eligible cattle at:

  • Wagga averaged 542¢/kg cwt, up 1¢ week-on-week
  • TRLX Tamworth averaged 569¢/kg cwt, down 7¢ week-on-week
  • CTLX Carcoar averaged 574¢/kg cwt, up 6¢ week-on-week
  • Roma Store averaged 587¢/kg cwt, down 23¢ week-on-week
  • Dalby averaged 577¢/kg cwt, up 10¢ week-on-week
  • Dubbo averaged 556¢/kg cwt, up 73¢ week-on-week.

The week ending 16 March

Feeder buyer purchases accounted for 50% of EYCI eligible cattle (down from 51% the previous week), and they paid an average of 542¢/kg cwt. Restockers took a 40% share (up from 38% the previous week) of purchases and paid a premium to feeder and processor buyers, averaging 577¢/kg cwt. Processor sales eased to 11% of the total, and they paid an average of 532¢/kg last week.

Overall, eastern states cattle slaughter for the week ending 16 March lifted 1% from both the previous week and the same time last year to more than 127,000 head. Queensland was the state largely driving the increase, with the number processed 7% higher than the previous week, at almost 62,000 head – although still 9% lower than the same time last year. NSW cattle slaughter was slightly lower (1%) than the week before, while the Victorian cattle kill was down 7% with a short trading week due to the public holiday.

The week ahead

Rainfall is forecast mostly along the coastal regions of Queensland and NSW, with some light falls moving into southern NSW and Victoria at the end of the week. Large numbers of cattle are continuing to present at the major selling centres this week. TRLX Tamworth sale on Monday penned a record yarding as producers look to offload stock due to the current seasonal and market conditions. Numbers at Wagga on Monday were similar to last week, with more secondary cattle presented as the dry autumn takes effect, and there was more competition from feeder and restocker buyers. Almost 9,900 head are booked in for Tuesday’s Roma store sale.

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