Most saleyard price indicators rose last week as wet weather across the Eastern States caused a 37 percent contraction in national cattle yardings.
Yardings in Queensland contracted by 59pc on the previous week to 8850 head, the third lowest weekly offering at MLA’s NLRS Queensland reported markets for the past year.
Numbers were also back significantly in NSW (down 23pc) and Victoria (down 20pc).
The benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) was 1c higher for the week to close at 382.75c/kg cwt.
Heavy steers nationally averaged 3c higher at 351c/kg cwt, while medium steers jumped 9c, to 343c/kg cwt. Cows were only slightly lower on the previous week, down 2c at 282c/kg cwt.
Feeder steers remained relatively firm on 207c/kg lwt.
The trade steer indicator eased 7c, settling at 375c/kg cwt, with the fall attrbitued mainly to winter-related quality issues.
Meat & Livestock Australia said the price increases across most categories were due largely to the assistance provided by wet weather to restocker demand and the renewed tightening of available supplies.
It noted that the higher $A was adding new pressure to market confidence.
“While cattle supplies were again impacted by rain, especially from heavy falls through eastern Queensland and northern NSW, the rise of the $A will again have many anxiously watching markets,” MLA’s Friday market report stated.
“The $A exceeded US104c late in the week, and given the tenuous demand situation will only accentuate the difficulty experienced during recent months in export markets.”
The EYCI was now 3.75c higher than the corresponding week last year, suggesting that recent lower supplies may be beginning to influence prices.
An analysis of the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator so far in 2012 shows that yearlings have accounted for 67pc of all cattle included in the calculation so far this year.
The analysis, performed by Meat & Livestock Australia’s market reporting team, shows that yearing steers were by far the largest contributor to the index, accounting for 44pc, followed by yearling heifers at 23pc.
Vealer heifers and steers accounted for a reduced percentage of 16pc each, reflecting a preference by producers throughout the eastern states to hold younger cattle for longer due to the ample feed.
The Roma Sale provided 14pc of cattle used for the calculation, mostly yearling cattle. Dalby accounted for 9pc, with a more even spread of vealers and yearlings, followed by Wagga Wagga with 7pc; Gunnedah, Dubbo, CTLX and Casino with 6pc each and Scone and Tamworth with 5pc each.
The EYCI is comprised of yearlings and vealers weighing above 200kg lwt, and less than 400kg lwt – the average weight of cattle in the EYCI so far in 2012 is 340kg. For cattle to be eligible for inclusion in the EYCI, they must have a muscle score of C and a fat score of 2 & 3, and the final carcase weight price is calculated on a seven-day rolling average.