Note to readers: AuctionsPlus has revamped its weekly market summaries as of this week, and MLA’s NLRS has launched a weekly AuctionsPlus market summary. Both are published below. Readers are invited to offer their feedback on the changes, via the reader comments panel at the base of this page.
THE Australian cattle market continues to show amazing resilience, with prices continuing to hover at, or around, all-time highs this week, as further good rain fell in some regions. The first full week of online auctions for 2021 registered a 4035 head increase in cattle offered through AuctionsPlus, with 19,803 head offered.
While in many years the disrupted and unpredictable offerings through January and the holiday period can often give a somewhat distorted view of the true market sentiments, the trend in 2021 has been very clear as consistency returns in February. Light steers and heifers continue to be extremely hard to source, and even harder to afford, while breeding intentions remain dominant.
Further falls through key cattle producing regions over the past week helped to maintain the market sentiment for anything – male or female – being offered online averaging less than 330kg.
Light steers 200-280kg jumped $57/head on the previous week to average $1414, or 566c/kg, while the 280-330kg steer offerings averaged $83 higher at $1643. Auction clearance rates of 92pc and 84pc, respectively, across the two categories continued to show buyers’ almost frantic intentions to secure unfinished cattle as the excellent season continues.
Prices were largely steady to slightly lower in the heavier steer categories 330-400kg and 400kg plus, with the heaviest steers averaging $1868 for the week. In contrast, the heaviest heifer category jumped $36 for the week, to average $1856 – with the breeding option pushing the clearance rate to 85pc and the average price only $12/head shy of the corresponding steer average.
Joined females registered a mixed week for prices, as the much lower clearance rates across the four main categories continued to signal that buyers are baulking at the overall cost, while the sellers sit firm with ample feed and water supplies.
As unjoined heavy heifers (400kg+) averaged $1856 this week, assessed and certified joined heifers averaged $2366/head – an increase of $173/head on the previous week, at a clearance rate of 59pc. On the surface it could be speculated that the $510/head difference between the two heifer lines is what some producers are willing to pay for near-term calving, in contrast to the potential longer time horizon for empty heifers.
PTIC cows with CAF averaged $106 lower this week, at $2742, with the 62pc clearance again revealing a persistent bid/offer spread in the days following the online sale.
Note – prices reported below are as at 5pm, Sunday 7 February.
MLA’s new AuctionsPlus cattle report:
Cattle numbers increased again this week, with 12,278 head offered up 2,833 head on last week. Feeder heifers and feeder steers saw the largest online offering this week for their respective categories with prices easing slightly across most categories.
Weaner steers weighing over 330kg sold from 448-525c/kg, averaging 490c down 4c. Yearling steers up to 330kg averaged 537c, selling from 468-552c, down 49c. Feeder steers 320-400kg sold from 336-519c, averaging 479c, down 11c, while heavier feeder steers +400kg sold from 382-479c, averaging 429c, down 22c. Weaner heifers 280-330kg averaged 504c, selling from 436-592c, down 14c. Yearling heifers 330-400kg sold from 443-491c, averaging 468c, up 8c, while feeder heifers 320-400kg averaged 466c, selling from 332-696c, down 45c.
Cows 400-550kg sold from $1440 to $3700, averaging $2424 up $50, while the heifer offering over 550kg averaged $2630, selling from $1960 to $3420. Calves were in short supply again this week selling from $325 to $1100.
Note: prices and volume as of 5pm 29/01/21.