Markets

Availability driving young cattle prices

James Nason, 26/10/2011

Availability remains a major driver of young cattle prices with further rises recorded this week.

The National Livestock Reporting Services’ Eastern Young Cattle Indicator has tracked within a stable 390c-405c/kg range since late August.

At the 4015 head Roma store sale on Tuesday the market for light and feeder cattle lifted by 5-10c per kilogram. Strong demand from lot feeders and restockers was a feature of the sale.

Elders Roma branch manager James Croft said yardings at Roma were currently running about 20pc lower than the same time last year.

“People have grass but there is a fair lack of protein so the cattle are not weighing as they should, Mr Croft said.

“I think they are just holding onto them for a while and to add more weight.”

Indications of a wet summer ahead was also influencing decisions to hold cattle for longer.

Mr Croft said the recent return of the Australian dollar to above parity with the US dollar was a cause of concern for prime markets.

“Once it gets above parity it is a concern, but I think the pressure of lack of supply is keeping that young cattle market fairly strong.”

Meat and Livestock Australia said the warmer weather was translating into better quality cattle across NLRS reported selling centres.

Trade cattle numbers had also improved, however a fair amount of secondary lines have been turned off, given the strong store demand. Export cattle were in excellent condition and numbers had increased lately.

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