Dalby numbers surge to 10-year-high

James Nason, 14/02/2013

Cattle numbers at the southern Queensland selling centre of Dalby surged to their highest level in 10 years yesterday, as western producers seized the opportunity provided by recent eastern rain and revitalised restocker demand to offload stock from drying paddocks.

The 8486 head yarding at Dalby yesterday followed a 10,000 head yarding further west at Roma the previous day.

Dalby-based livestock agent Peter Daniel, principal of Grant Daniel Long, said the market for steers in particular held up well despite the influx of numbers as restockers from the Downs turned out in volume to compete on the offering.

Most cattle in the yarding came from dry western areas such as Cunnamulla, Bollon, St George, Dirranbandi, and Blackall.

“The reason behind the big push of numbers is the continuing dry weather in the west, and their concerns for water,” Mr Daniel told Beef Central this morning.

“A lot of creeks and channels have dried up.

“With that heavy concentration of cattle all putting the pressure on the waters, and after three years everyone has got their numbers right up, so they’re just starting to come under a bit of pressure, I would say water has got a fair bit to do with it.”

Recent rain across the eastern half of Queensland has breathed new life into the restocker market. Many potential buyers who turned up yesterday in search of steers left without buying cattle, Mr Daniel said.

He said that while the store market, particularly for steers had firmed up, the feeder market had become “pretty tight”, with prices for 100-day feeder cattle back on previous week’s rates.

“That is just because feedlots are full and grain is dear and the end product is not worth as much as we were hoping,” Mr Daniel said.

He added that heifers, such as Brahman-cross types around the 250kg range and not suitable for slaughter, had also slipped in value, with rates yesterday around the $1.40 range.

From a supply perspective, Mr Daniel said dry conditions in the north resulting in more northern cattle coming onto the market in the south.

Supply trends for saleyards in southern Queensland in coming weeks will hinge heavily on whether forecasts for rain in the western part of the state next week come to fruition.

“Generally we won’t have two really massive sales in a row, this week’s sale cleaned a few out, but if that forecast for rain in the west drops off, well we’ll be on again,” Mr Daniel said.

“What can limit the numbers though is the amount of transport available.

“I would think Roma and Dalby would struggle to yard many more cattle at the moment because transport is that busy it is just hard to physically get it.”

To read the full National Livestock Reporting Service report on Dalby’s sale in Beef Central’s markets pages click here


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