Shrinking numbers of heavy cows caused prices to jump by 25-40c/kg at the northern Victorian selling centre of Barnawatha yesterday.
MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service said strong demand from an increased contingent of southern export processors pushed prices for better finished heavy cows to a top of 255c/kg, or $1488/head.
Albury-Wodonga Stock Agents Association president Trevor Parker from Corcoran Parker said cow numbers over the last four weeks at the centre have fallen from around 1300 to 800 to just 500 yesterday.
While the shrinking numbers were partially caused by producers holding cattle back until the next financial year starting next Wednesday, the over-riding factor was that numbers “have just run out”, he said.
He said yesterday’s market was totally driven by processors from Melbourne and Gippsland-region processors.
“There weren’t enough cows for them all to get a start, but the ones that did compete competed very strongly, particularly on those properly finished Angus cows which made to $2.50, and there are a few that made more than that,” Mr Parker said.
‘Middle of the road’ Friesian cows sold up to 220c/kg.
Mr Parker said there was no question that prices now being paid were at record levels for cows.
He expects tight supply of cattle to remain from now through to September, while demand is also likely to remain strong following last week’s good rain.
After experiencing an average winter so far last week’s falls of between 50mm and 100mm had been a blessing.
“That has given everyone a lot of confidence and the supply has just tightened right up,” Mr Parker said.
He said that while some of the bigger export processors had good numbers of cattle on feed, some of the southern processors did not have large numbers of cows lined up in front of them.
“So I think we will see this sort of demand, maybe not at these rates, but very strong demand right through until early Spring,” he said.
EYCI to new record level
Meanwhile, the upward march of the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator continued into record territory this week, with the indicator rising to a new benchmark of 509c/kg following sales at Casino, Dalby, Singleton and Warnambool yesterday. To view the latest EYCI report on the MLA website click here.
To view yesterday’s NLRS report from Barnawatha in Beef Central’s markets section click here