WHILE there were plenty of twists-and-turns in this week’s AuctionsPlus commercial cattle sales, final results for the week were generally higher, seeing young heifer lines regaining most of last week’s slippage. With total offerings back 15 percent on last week, at 12,318 head, competition was strong through the lighter lines, while buyers continue to be watchful through the proven breeders.
Final sale value over reserve continues to sit at historically high levels, averaging $206/head this week, while average clearance rates hit 78pc at the conclusion of the sales.
If the last two weeks of widespread rainfall through the eastern states is any indication of the rejuvenated La Nina seasonal outlook, the ability to access and move cattle into the summer months may be one of the largest impediments for the market to overcome.
While the recent wet conditions provide producers with flexibility and options heading into the final quarter, reflected in the very tight offerings in recent months, there are always bills to be paid and the desire for cash flow will start to influence marketing decisions.
Indeed, producers traditionally sell for two reasons: no grass, or no cash – in the coming months it looks like income will have a larger influence on selling decisions than feed supplies.
The seemingly never-ending search for quality light steers pushed 200-280kg lines higher this week, with the small offering of only 895 head averaging 94c/kg higher than last week, at 744c/kg – with a 96pc clearance. From Beaudesert, Southern Queensland, 25 Ultrablack weaned steers 7-12 months averaging 268kg returned $1800/head.
It was a similar market for 280-330kg steers, with a tight supply helping prices edge 16c/kg higher on last week, to average 641c/kg. The 710 head offered finished with a 72pc clearance.
The 330-400kg steer category was the only one to take a step back this week, finishing 3c/kg lower, to average 594c. With a comparatively large offering of 1998 head, the clearance of 85pc reflected the fierce bidding across many lines. From Wantabadgery, Riverina NSW, 168 Poll Hereford yearling steers 12-13 months sold from 592c/kg for a lighter line 388kg to 593.7c/kg for the heavier line 411kg – $170 over reserve.
Heavy feeder steers remained steady this week, with the 1535 head offered selling to an 82pc clearance and averaging 13c higher on last week – at 584c/kg. From Nyngan, Central West NSW, 33 Brangus feeder steers 10-14 months averaging 414kg returned $2170/head.
The young heifer market regained much of last week’s losses, with the largest category, 330-400kg, kicking $114 higher, to average $2288/head. From Caroona, NSW Northwest Slopes and Plains, 57 Angus NSM future breeder heifers 13-14 months and averaging 397kg returned $2620.
For the lighter lines, 200-280kg heifers edged 8c higher on last week, to 670cc, with a healthy 88pc clearance for the 1039 head offered. Heifers 280-330kg averaged 71c higher, more than making up for last week’s decrease, to average 695c.
There was a limited offering of 400kg+ heifers, with the average for the week slipping $30, to $2274/head. From Hughenden, North Queensland, 106 Charolais x Santa feeder heifers 15-21 months averaging 419kg returned $2180, or 520c/kg.
There was no respite to the tight supply of proven breeders this week, with the 1270 PTIC heifers selling to a 54pc clearance at the close of the market. PTIC heifers averaged $153 higher on last week, at $2717/head.
PTIC cows were the only other proven breeder category of significant size, with the 671 head offered selling to an 80pc clearance – with prices back $511 on last week, to average $2385/head.
From Wangolina, Lower SE SA, 57 EU accredited Shorthorn PTIC cows 3-10 years averaging 511kg, joined to Shorthorn bulls returned $2320.
Prices as at 2pm, Friday 16 September.