WEATHER remained the key determining factor in the supply of cattle to the market last week.
With widespread rain and extensive flooding constraining movements, numbers offered in AuctionsPlus weekly commercial cattle sales declined 23 percent to 13,510 head. Most categories achieved higher prices this week, with the average value over reserve increasing 5pc to $203, while clearance rose to 76pc.
Competition for quality lines was strong last week, with average prices for steers and heifers generally higher, while breeding females experienced mixed results.
With the near-term forecast for more heavy rain, the anticipated surge of market ready cattle will be steadily growing with each week of disruption and flooding.
The steer categories were mostly stronger this week, with lower listings of the lightest two categories, while listings of the heavier three categories increased.
A small offering of 268 light steers saw average c/kg prices fall 36c/kg, to average 631c last week, achieving a 79pc clearance. In the 200-280kg category, the 1061 head offered averaged 711c/kg, up 47c or $160 on last week, for a 95pc clearance.
From Prairie, North Queensland, a line of 115 Droughtmaster steers 8-10 months averaging 228kg returned $1450/head or 637c/kg. Among larger lines, 306 Santa type weaned steers 257kg at 6-12 months from Richmond, North Queensland averaged 723c/kg or $1860.
The 280-330kg steer category consisted of 1825 head, selling to an 89pc clearance, and averaging 675c/kg, up 74c on last week.
From Longreach, Western Queensland, 102 Brangus steers 5-10 months averaging 309kg returned $1980/head – $180 over the reserve.
An increased offering of 330-400kg steers averaged 4c higher at 698c/kg or $2213/head across the 1734 head and reaching an 87pc clearance. From Meningie, SA, 26 Angus steers 11-12 months averaging 352kg returned 625c/kg or $2200.
Heavy steers bucked the trend, with prices falling 1c/kg or $77 across the 1246 head, to average 515c or $2298. Lower liveweight was a contributing factor.
From Cootamundra, NSW, 29 Hereford steers 12-17 months averaging 441kg returned $2500 – $400 over the reserve.
Listings were down for each heifer category last week. A limited offering of light heifers less than 200kg averaged 341c/kg higher at 967c reached 100pc clearance.
Listings of 200-280kg heifers fell 27pc to 1322 head, with prices rising by 37c or $99 to average 630c for a 59pc clearance.
From Pentland, North Queensland, 113 Simmental cross heifers 12-14 months averaging 242kg returned $1300 or 537c/kg.
Listings of 280-330kg heifers lowered to 910 head, while prices averaged 668c – up 37c on last week for a 71pc clearance.
From Roma, Southern Queensland, 32 Angus heifers 10-12 months averaging 299kg returned the top price of $2740 – $440 over the reserve.
The 330-400kg heifers experienced highly selective buying, with clearance falling to 52pc while prices kicked 33c or $153 higher, to average $2392. The top category price of $3670 was achieved for F1 Wagyu/Angus heifers.
From Charleroi, Victoria, 39 Angus heifers 12-14 months averaging 535kg returned $2390, or 678c/kg.
Heavy heifers +400kg also bucked the trend, with the 457 head averaging $2382/head – down $77 from last week for a 100pc clearance. From South Forest, Tasmania, 32 Hereford heifers 20-22 months averaging 436kg returned $2420 – $220 over reserve.
Breeding females met strong competition, despite mixed results relative to the steer and heifer categories.
Listings of PTIC heifers fell to 1265 head, with prices increasing $64 to average $2861 – clearance rates also increased to 55pc. From Armidale, NSW, 52 Angus PTIC heifers 20-24 months averaging 490kg returned $2910/head – $210 over reserve.
A slightly higher offering of 634 PTIC cows sold into a steady market, with average prices falling $229, to $2738. Clearance increased to 61pc, while the average c/kg price increased 84c, to 626c/kg.
From St George, Southern Queensland, 42 Charbray PTIC cows 2-3 years averaging 436kg returned $2480/head, travelling to a buyer near Forbes, NSW.
From Dubbo, NSW, 31 Shorthorn cows with calves sired by Angus bulls at foot returned $4200/head. The NSM cows were aged years and averaged 657kg.
Prices as at 2pm, Friday 14 October.