DESPITE clearer conditions, cattle supplies online remained more subdued this week, with AuctionsPlus commercial cattle offerings easing to 17,326 head – back seven percent from the previous week.
Driving the drop in supply has been logistical issues culminating from wet paddocks in some areas, which in turn has led to strong demand from Queensland and northern NSW, who secured a large chuck of the weaner and yearling purchases.
This was reflected in higher prices for most steer categories – regaining some of the losses from the previous week.
Wet and cold conditions have temporarily cooled demand for breeding lines, despite high moisture levels expected to support ongoing herd rebuilding activity. Results were mixed for young heifer lines with no clear trend in prices, while clearance rates in lighter heifers were notably stronger than the heavier lines.
Light young steers were mixed this week, with steers lighter than 200kg increasing 26c/kg on last week, regaining half of the previous week’s loss to average 580c/kg.
Steers 200-280kg dropped another 7c/kg or $45 to average 681c. With 2527 head offered, at a 78pc clearance, these lighter categories were relatively stable compared to the heavier lines.
From Normanton in Queensland’s Gulf Country, a line of 208 4-12-month-old Brahman steers averaging 204kg returned $1410/head or 690c/kg. The same vendor offered a line of heifers consisting of 145 head averaging 186kg which returned $1120.
For the heavier 280-330kg steers, prices averaged 35c/kg higher at 698c/kg, regaining the previous weeks’ losses and then some. Clearance rates for the category supported the price rise, rising to 83pc with the larger offering of 2121 head.
Steers 330-400kg experienced a return to usual offerings this week, with the 1566 head offered tripling the previous week’s number, with confidence in the heavier lines remaining robust as clearances also rose on last week to reach 77pc – up from 55pc the previous week. The return of northern bids helped average prices rise by 42c/kg, to 605c/kg. Another large run of Queensland steers consisting of 204 head of Droughtmaster backgrounders 6-10 months averaging 313kg returned $2040 or 651c/kg.
The heaviest steer category didn’t miss out on the stronger market this week, with 400kg+ steers rising 29c/kg or $105 on last week, to average $536c. The clearance for the reduced offering bounced back up to reach 79pc across the 449 head offered.
For the five young heifer categories mixed results were achieved while clearances were stronger compared to the previous week. Heifers 200-280kg averaged 34c/kg higher at 690c across the 1675 head offered, while 280-330kg heifers fell 22c/kg to 603c. The 330-400kg lines averaged 5c/kg higher, at 597c for the 702 head offered.
From Cudal, NSW two even lines totalling 70 head of 9-10-month-old Angus heifers 279kg returned 866c/kg. They will travel to a buyer near Moree, NSW.
The lineup of PTIC cows and PTIC heifers was reduced this week, with offerings of 1738 and 2997 head, respectively. While clearances for PTIC heifers remained low at 42pc, the category averaged $207 lower than last week, at $2772/head despite some standout lines which extended the maximum for the category to $4880.
PTIC cows slipped $7 on last week, to $3076 – quality lines supported a 61pc clearance rate.
As has been the trend throughout 2022, PTIC heifer clearance rates are expected to rise in the coming days, as post-sale negotiations kick into gear.
A line of 96 PTIC Brahman heifers aged 28-34 months averaging 393kg from Reid River, North Queensland returned $2610 and will travel to a buyer near Rolleston, Queensland.
A line of Angus PTIC cows 3-4-years averaging 633kg from Borambola, NSW which came up against strong bidding activity returned $4410/head – $1600 over their reserve – when bough by a buyer near Dalveen, Queensland.
NSM cows and calves dropped $292 last week to average $3449/head, despite the clearance jumping from 63pc the week before to 84pc.
From Moyhu, Victoria, two lines of 2-3-year-old Angus NSM cows with CAF averaging 562kg and 514kg returned $3850/head and will travel to a buyer in Penola, SA.
Prices as at 2pm, Friday 20 May.