Widespread wet weather and flooding, continued herd rebuilding and an increase in the volume of cattle sold direct to works were among key factors behind a 5pc reduction in saleyard yardings in 2011-12, according to MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service.
Weekly cattle yardings at markets reported by the NLRS were lower across all southern states compared to the previous year, while numbers in Queensland averaged 2pc higher than what was a very low 2010-11 figure.
“Interestingly for Queensland, the 2pc increase was despite a series of cancelled markets during February and March, most notably in Roma and Longreach, as flooding created logistical issues in getting both cattle and buyers to markets,” the NLRS said.
NSW cattle yardings averaged 5pc lower year-on-year, with the main contributor a 26pc reduction during March, as flooding restricted sales throughout the state.
Average weekly yardings in Victoria were just below the same period in 2010-11.
Like NSW, flooding was the main reason behind the drop in the numbers offered, especially in the Gippsland region, despite drier conditions in the western region. SA recorded the largest year-on-year decline, falling 16pc, while WA throughput slipped 12pc for the year.
The herd rebuilding trend was reflected in a 7pc decline in yardings of both vealer and yearling heifers.
In contrast, vealer and yearling steer yardings for the same period increased 1pc.
Yardings of grown steers declined 2pc year-on-year, largely due to greater numbers bypassing the saleyards and going direct to processors.
Cow yardings declined 7pc year-on-year, as producers continued to look to retain breeding numbers.