AFTER the sequence of holiday-reduced offerings, commercial cattle numbers through AuctionsPlus lifted sharply last week, with 19,120 head selling to a predominantly stronger market.
With a significantly larger young steer offering, prices were up across all five categories, spurred by an encouraging forecast for widespread rain this week, along with a scramble for quality lighter lines before the cold weather eventually hits the southern states.
Looking ahead, a widespread rainfall event for the eastern states, forecast to be heaviest through central Queensland, may see numbers out of these regions tighten into early May. Further south, late April rain is always welcome, especially after the recent run of mild conditions and huge sowing efforts. With the first frost of the year imminent, producers will be anxiously watching late autumn pasture growth and early season crop growth.
Scarcity continues to be the driving force behind the young cattle market, even with several large physical weaner sales also occurring this week. Steers 200-280kg last week averaged $36 higher, at $1828, with a 64pc clearance for the 2748 head offered. A line of 86 Angus steers 8-9 months averaging 210kg from Macarthur Victoria returned $1900/head, or 902c/kg. Two other lots of 90 and 50 steers from the same vendor – similar age but averaging 245kg and 281kg – made 809c/kg and 768c/kg respectively.
There was a similar clearance rate for the 280-330kg category, with the 2343 head offered registering a 65pc clearance – averaging $89 higher on last week, at $2038/head. From Euroa Victoria, a line of 108 Angus steers 6-8 months averaging 321kg returned $2330/head, or 727c/kg.
For the heaver steer lines, prices and clearances were also higher than in previous weeks, with the 1275 head of 330-400kg steers averaging $90 higher at $2257. From Goondiwindi Queensland, a line of 6-8-month-old Poll Hereford/Angus steers 365kg returned $2280, or 625c/kg. In contrast to the lighter categories, feeder steer numbers remained tight, which helped prices, with the 542 head selling to an 80pc clearance – averaging $156 dearer, at $2661.
For the young heifer portion of the market, prices slipped for the lightest and heaviest lines, while substantial rises were registered through the mid-weights. Heifers 200-280kg saw 1792 head offered, selling to a 60pc clearance and averaging $1775 – up by $221 and erasing all of last week’s decline.
Heifers 330-400kg averaged $128 higher on the previous week, averaging $2185 for the 540 head offered. A line of 87 Droughtmaster heifers 18-24 months averaging 360kg from Aramac Queensland, returned $1820, or 505c/kg. They will travel to Lockington, Victoria.
The largest PTIC heifer offering in several weeks was greeted with some cautious buying, but with quality and bloodlines again being rewarded – as prices averaged $247 higher at $2960 head. With a 48pc clearance rate for the 3200 head offered, it was largely a return to normal prices for the PTIC heifer market, following the previous week’s holiday volatility. Two even lines of Angus PTIC heifers, totalling 80 head from Nundle, NSW, returned $3120. Aged 20-22 months at 469kg, the heifers will travel to Dulacca, Queensland.
PTIC cow numbers jumped by almost 1000 head on the previous week, with a competitive 80pc clearance. Prices for the week averaged $41 higher, at $2992. A line of 102 Santa PTIC cows from Mundubbera, Queensland, 2-8 years averaging 541kg returned $2350/head – secured by a buyer in Dunedoo, NSW.
Prices as at 2pm, Friday 22 April.
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