Cattle throughput continues to ride the rainfall rollercoaster, with numbers offered in AuctionsPlus weekly commercial cattle sales decreasing 12% this week, to 17,446 head – up 3% on the corresponding week last year.
Numbers out of Queensland made up for lost time during a clear week, with a 17% increase, while NSW cattle stayed home, constrained by waterlogged paddocks. The volatility in location and level of throughput is flowing through to results, with wider price ranges and mixed clearance rates across categories.
A 48% surge in the number of steers offered out of Queensland was not enough to counter the subdued listings from the rest of the country, with national steer numbers falling 19%. Breeding stock numbers remained limited, with strong competition helping to push overall value over reserve up to $193/head, while heifer numbers were stable in comparison.
Results were mixed across the steer categories, with light steers performing well against an increased offering of 755 head, selling to an average $1,105/head and clearance of 95% – both up on last week. A larger offering of 200-280kg steers didn’t stop the category recovering the losses of the previous week, with the 2,057 head averaging $1,653/head – up $266 on last week, reaching 77% clearance. From Cheepie, Western Queensland, a line of 160 Brahman/Brahman cross steers aged 6-12 months old and averaging 215kg lwt returned $1,570/head, or 731c/kg lwt.
The 280-330kg steer category registered the largest fall for the week, with the 1,283 head on offer down 35% from the previous week. Average price also fell, down $173, to $1,852/head, with a subdued clearance rate at the immediate closure of auctions of 62%. From Thalgarrah, NSW, a line of 25 Shorthorn steers aged 9-12 months old and averaging 316kg lwt returned $2,125/head – $325 over the reserve price.
Listings of 330-400kg steers decreased to 1,618 head, which averaged $2,183/head – down $109 on last week at a 78% clearance. From Holbrook, NSW, a line of 69 Angus steers aged 12-13 months old and averaging 373kg lwt returned the top price of $2,400/head, or 643c/kg lwt.
Heavy steer listings also decreased, with the 1,203 head reaching a 86% clearance and averaging $2,375/head – down $85. From Augathella, Western Queensland, a line of 100 Ultrablack/Brangus steers aged 19-24 months old and averaging 475kg lwt returned $2,375/head, or 501c/kg lwt.
Heavy heifers averaged higher this week on the back of tighter supply, while increased offerings of light and medium heifers put downward pressure on prices. Light heifers averaged $979/head across the 501 head offered and achieved a 98% clearance. Listings of 200-280kg heifers increased 25%, to 1,819 head, with prices easing by $70, to average $1,462/head for a 58% clearance. From Konongwootong, Victoria, a line of 36 Angus heifers aged 11-12 months old and averaging 256kg lwt returned $1,940/head – $170 over the reserve price.
The offering of 280-330kg heifers also increased, with the 1,580 head selling to a subdued clearance of 57% and average of $1,890/head – down $37 from last week. From Bauhnia, Central Queensland, a line of 108 Brahman heifers aged 10-13 months old and averaging 288kg lwt returned $1,320/head, or 459c/kg lwt.
Heavy heifers were a different story, with listings of 330-400kg heifers falling 27%, to 2,157 head. Heated competition for the tight offering of ready-to-join heifers sent prices up $217, to average $2,254/head. From Canowindra, NSW, a line of 45 Angus heifers aged ten months old and averaging 365kg lwt returned $2,420/head – $420 over the reserve price. Listings of 400kg+ heifers were also back on last week, with the 560 head averaging $2,466/head – up $37 on last week. From Kingston, SA, two even lines of 65 Shorthorn heifers aged 15-16 months old and averaging 440kg lwt returned $2,350/head.