Numbers climbed to just over 3,200 at NVLX Wodonga as vendors sell off before the annual Christmas holiday break. Prices did vary throughout the market, with some export and domestic processors not contesting the better quality lines.
Young secondary cattle returning to the paddock generally firmed 3-7c, with lighter weights returning to the paddock selling from 302-317c/kg. Plainer store conditioned cattle bore the brunt of cheaper rates as buyers discounted mixed breeds. Plainer shaped heifers lacking condition fetched from 160-250c/kg. Well-bred steers 280- 320kg sold from 302c to 312c to average 308c/kg, or $921/head.
The feeder steer market showed solid resilience to any downside last week, to gain 5c/kg for medium weight lines. Demand for quality lighter weight steers and heifers were evident with prices mostly firm throughout the sale. According to National Livestock reporting service data a total of 495 steers weighing 400-500kg were purchased by various feedlots selling to a top of $1592 to averaged $1405. Lighter weight heifers to feed made from 265c to 296c to average 279c or $1049.
On a positive note, most of the better trade weight cattle sold to keen competition, with two major domestic processors entering the fray after a short absence. Select butcher orders and increased demand cemented a floor in prices, with trade steers and heifer firm to a few cents cheaper. Medium weight trades steers topped at 319c to averaged 291c, while the heifer portion sold from 264c to 285c/kg.
The best trade price was 322c/kg recorded for prime milk vealers but such sales were isolated, the bulk of the better European milk calves sold 2c higher making from 290c to 318c/kg. Other sales of milk vealers eased 4c selling at 270-290c/kg.
Export cattle rates fluctuated as the market struggled to find a stable base amid mixed quality and looming abattoir closures for the Christmas holiday break. One single pen of milk teeth heavy steers hit 294c but the bulk of the better finished steers made from 266c to 288c easing 4c/kg. Demand for bullocks varied but as rule buyers weren’t prepared to push past 288c/kg. Heavy bullocks made from 260-288c to sell at unchanged rates. Heavy feeder steers 500-600kg wold to softer price trends easing 2c to average 288c/kg.
The cow market lost its momentum, with several northern and southern processors not attending or operating. Heavy well finished cows sold 9c cheaper selling from 218c to 240c/kg. It was more of the same for leaner cow with prices dipping 15-17c/kg. Leaner cows to slaughter made from 200-228c/kg. Heavy bulls topped at 298.2c/kg