Restocker demand drives young cattle prices higher

James Nason, 31/08/2011

Gerald and Gay Burey, Springhill, Amby, sold Angus/Hereford steers to a top of 220c/kg for 373kg to return $821/head at Roma's Store Sale on Tuesday. Picture: Martin BunyardRenewed confidence from restockers heading into spring has pushed the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator to its highest level since May 3.

The National Livestock Reporting Service yesterday reported strong competition from restockers on young cattle across Eastern Australia, particularly from buyers in the south where the seasonal outlook for spring is looking strong.

The renewed confidence drove the EYCI 7c higher yesterday to close at 398.75c/kg.

Scattered shows around the Maranoa district of up to 50mm over the weekend led to a sharp reduction in numbers at the weekly Roma store sale yesterday.

Agents yarded 4100 head, down 1500 on last week, with cattle drawn from as far as Cunnamulla in South Western Queensland and Winton in Central Western Queensland.

Buyers came from further afield, with restockers from the New England area of northern NSW travelling north to enhance competition for the available cattle.

The NLRS report said recent rainfall spurred restocker buyers into “a purchasing frenzy”, with light yearling steers rising 6c/kg.

Elders’ Roma branch manager James Croft said the strength of demand from restockers was reflected in the strong prices paid for secondary and plainer types, which lifted 5-8c/kg across the board.

“People have had that bit of a start with a few storms about coming into spring and they’re taking advantage of that,” Mr Croft said.

Landmark Roma branch manager Rod Turner said improved conditions in prime markets were also driving confidence.

"There is a lot more confidence, because the fat market is going so well too at the moment, 100 day grain cattle have all come up, so the meat market has got a bit of solidity about it again," Mr Turner said.

“Also live exports are starting to get rolling again now, there is plenty demand for cattle across the state and in the northern territory now.”

Conditions in north western NSW remain very dry but the market at Gunnedah yesterday was very strong for lighter cattle in particular, mainly due to restockers operating out of Victoria.

Guy Gallen from Jacob & Anderson at Gunnedah said buyers from Leongatha were “virtually unstoppable” on any cattle that were light and could be transported efficiently back to Victoria.

“The whole push is that there is just a shortage of cattle, simple as that,” Mr Gallen said.

“We had a really big sell off in the autumn, all of our weaners were making anywhere from 260-290c depending on the weight, and we just saw that as a selling opportunity and everyone took it.

“It has continued to be very, very dry, with only xix inches of rain not uncommon here since mid-December.

“There has been a big sell-off of cattle, I just don’t think they’re there.”

Buyers who feed cattle for Coles and Woolworths who had bought large numbers back in autumn were also active again in the current market.

Mr Gallen said killable steers that he thought would make 210c/kg yesterday made 235c/kg.

“I haven’t seen that price for that weight of beast since the autumn,” he said. 



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