The seasonal shortage of top quality domestic and export slaughter cattle in the Riverina gave the market a significant edge this week, with prices improving by up to 30c/kg at Wagga Wagga, NSW on Monday.
James Tierney auctioneer of Riverina Livestock Wagga said “We have entered uncharted territory and prices achieved today were extreme, with processors now operating on a knife edge.
This trend was evident over all slaughter cattle, where the best heavy Bullocks sold 26c dearer to reach a top price of 360c, while the better finished grown steers 500-600kg made from 320c to 368c/kg.
Heavy heifers over 500kg ignited the bidding between two major export processor which pushed prices to new heights. A pen of 40 Angus heifers weighing 603kg recorded a top price of 389.6c to set an average rate of 362c/kg.
Trade cattle experienced stronger demand overall classes with domestic processors struggling to outbid feedlot buyers across all lines of well-bred crop and supplementary finished stock. Trade steers gained 9c to average 343c/kg. Generally trade heifers across the board jumped 20c fetching 327-350c/kg.
Vealers were also in demand, particularly the lighter weight portion with rates 22c/kg higher odd sales more. At the same time heavier vealer heifers were 25c dearer, the best of the vealers topping at 360c/kg.
Store cattle prices this week responded to widespread rain across the region and prices continued to climb. Weaner store cattle sold into the Coonamble area as well as Adelong, Tamworth, Wodonga and the local areas. This resulted in prices jumping 20c-27c/kg with weaner steers making from 345c-398c/kg boosting steer values by $100/head. There was the same urgency in the heifer portion with prices ranging from 329c to 352c/kg.
The smaller group of feedlot buyers did not affect values with prices generally 8-10c dearer. Medium weight steers 400-500kg made from 326c -371c to average 340c/kg. Angus heifers suitable to feed on met with stronger competition and sold to 352c pushing overall heifer prices 18c/kg higher. Heifers weighing 280-330kg topped at 352c averaging 343c/kg.
A buoyant cow market lifted prices 10c-15c/kg higher. Heavy well finished cows to slaughter were in demand, with prices ranging from 265c to 298c/kg. Leaner cows were keenly contested making from 236c to 287c/kg. Bidding intensified for lighter weight cows to turnout, with store buyers paying from 211c-258c/kg.