There was another large offering through AuctionsPlus commercial cattle sales this week, with total numbers jumping 5pc on the previous week to 20,110 head. While the heaviest populated steer and heifer categories edged higher in value, there was some ground lost through the less populated lighter lines, perhaps partly due to quality and breed effect.
The past two weeks of sales has seen some of the “froth and frenzy” leave the market, with clearance rates and bidding activity returning to more normal levels. While still at historically high levels, the EYCI has fluctuated between a high of 1134c/kg and low of 1105c/kg cwt since the start of February – an amazingly tight seven-week range considering the movement over the past year.
Reports of producers ‘getting their cheque books ready’ for the upcoming weaner and calf selling season may partly explain some of the reduced activity, along with some drier weather through key southern regions, placing concerns about the direction of the season back on the table.
Through the mid-weight steer lines, 280-330kg steers this week were 14c/kg higher, averaging 698c/kg, with a 71 clearance for the 2045 head offered. In contrast, the 330-400kg lines slipped 2c to average 608c, with a below-average clearance of 64pc for the 2615 head offered.
Out of Macorna, Northern Victoria, 43 Speckle Park x Angus cross weaned steers, averaging 333kg/head, sold to $2,100/head.
Among the lightest categories, a small offering of steers less than 200kg saw p[rices slump 118c/kg on the previous week, averaging 652c, while the 1200-odd steers 200-280kg fell 70c/kg to average 706c.
Heavy steers +400kg averaged 1c higher for the week, at 546c, registering a 55pc clearance. Out of Harefield NSW Riverina, a line of 46 Angus feeder steers, averaging 504kg sold to 575.8c/kg liveweight – equating to $2900/head.
Young heifers attracted plenty of pre-auction catalogue views, especially through the two heaviest categories, with potential future breeders attracting plenty of attention. Heifers 330-400kg averaged 7c higher at 601c, with a 75pc clearance for the 1714 head offered. From Quilpie Western Queensland, a line of 65 Droughtmaster x composite heifers 14-24 months averaging 382kg, sold for 510.3c/kg.
Heifers 280-330kg also attracted plenty of pre-auction attention, albeit with the final clearance only reaching 59pc, as buyers remained cautious at the lighter weights. Prices for the category averaged 46c higher on last week, at 690c. Heifers 200-280kg were 3c down on the previous week averaging 714c, while a small offering of less than 200kg heifers down 71c on the previous week, to average 652c.
A line of 144 Droughtmaster heifers out of Richmond North Queensland, averaging 260kg, sold for $1860/head.
Prices for the largest of the proven breeding lines averaged higher this week, albeit with lower clearance rates, as many buyers remain cautious.
The 2967 PTIC heifers offered sold to very selective buying, with the 44pc clearance at the closure of the sale expected to slowly rise in coming days. PTIC heifers averaged $213/head higher this week, at $3203/head, making up much of the decline from last week. PTIC cow clearance rates also reflected some very cautious and researched buying, with a 59pc clearance rate for the 1533 head offered. PTIC cows averaged $299 higher, at $3086 head.
From Marlborough, Central Queensland, a line of 72 mostly Grey Brahman NSM cows, mixed ages from 3-12 years, averaging 463kg, with Brahman calves at foot, made 663c/kg or $3070/unit.
Prices as at 2pm, Friday 18 March
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