Critically low surface water levels across the Riverina caused numbers to lift considerably to 5,175 at Wagga on Monday.
Quality this week deteriorated with increased numbers of plainer yearling steers and heifers more suited to feedlots and restockers.
The dry conditions have created a lot of fence-sitting as restockers wait to see how the Autumn seasons pans out, which means there wasn’t the buying depth for the amount of plainer cattle offered, especially lighter weight steers and heifers, which need grass demand to hold prices levels.
Well-bred steers to 200kg to 280kg to turnout sold 14c lower to average 223.9c while the 280 to 320kg steers were unchanged making from 210c to 233c/kg. There was keener interest from restockers on the better bred lines of light weight heifers which made from 180c to 199c/kg, plainer heifers sold down to 145c to average 151c/kg.
There were fewer better finished trade steers and they were firm to 2c easier, with the medium trade weights averaging 232c/kg. Most domestic processors were forced to fill trade orders with the well finished heifer portion which contributed to a 3c/kg rise. Medium weight heifers to slaughter ranged from 210c to 230c/kg.
The best rates paid at the market were for medium weight feeder steers with buyers paying to a top price of 246c/kg. The bulk of the better bred steers ranged from 224c to 244c/kg.
Feeder heifers were keenly contested with some of the medium lines cracking past the 228c/kg mark and the top price paid was 229.6c/kg.
Export demand for bullocks and grown steers was slightly weaker with prices softening 2 to 4c/kg. The bulk of the better finished steers made from 220 to 236c/kg. Heifers weighing over 500kg commanded premium prices, with the better drafts selling from 210to 230c/kg.
Prices were subdued in the cow market as most buyers were cautious over all weights and grades. Leaner cows struggled to attract buyer competition with plainer lines up to 5c cheaper. Heavy well finished beef cows, pregnancy tested in calf put a floor in prices, with high yielding beef cows unchanged to a few cents higher to average 177.1c/kg.
View full NLRS sale reports from markets around Australia in Beef Central’s markets section