Young cattle rates consolidate across Eastern states

James Nason, 14/09/2011

The market for young cattle consolidated recent gains yesterday as increased supplies came forward in response to the higher prices.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator generated by Meat and Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service closed 3.5 points lower at 400c yesterday afternoon, largely on the back of a reduction in the number of restockers operating at the benchmark Roma Store sale.

However keen demand from restockers at sales including Warwick, Gunnedah, the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange and Wodonga saw continued increases in young cattle prices at those centres.

The strength behind the recent vealer and yearling prices rises tracked by the EYCI has been attributed to strong demand from restockers, with solid support from feedlots, for tight available supplies in the approach to spring. Late winter rain across several parts of eastern Australia has boosted the spring seasonal outlook for many.

The NLRS's EYCI climbed to 404.25c last week, representing an 8pc rise since the start of August.

Only minor improvements have been recorded in export demand since that time, underscoring the role that demand for cattle to fill paddocks and feedlots has played in fuelling young cattle price rises.

The Roma store sale typically exerts a solid influence over weekly EYCI movements by virtue of the large numbers of young cattle sold at the centre.

Yesterday for example 3211 cattle offered at Roma fell into the vealer and yearling categories that the EYCI tracks. That represented a 41pc contribution to yesterday’s EYCI movement. The next largest sale was Gunnedah, which included 951 vealers and yearlings and contributed 14pc to yesterday’s EYCI movement.

Cattle supplies at Roma increased by 801 head to 5501 but the National Livestock Reporting Service reported a reduced number of restockers in the buying gallery, which was attributed to price falls in light to medium weight yearling steer categories compared to the previous week.

However feedlot buyers continued to display a strong desire to acquire suitable cattle, which saw heavy weight yearling steers and light to medium weight yearling heifers to feedlots registered small price increases.

The restockers that were active at Roma seemed to find more value in score 2 to 3 cows and competed heavily on those to force prices up by 8c/kg on average.

At Gunnedah yesterday the yarding was reduced to 1700 head due to useful rain in region, but contained good supplies of young cattle suitable for the trade, restockers and feedlot orders and with strong competition and increased recorded across most grades.

Further south at the CTLX where agents yarded 1685 head, a small 45 head increase on last week, most yearling classes were reported as 4-5c dearer.

A larger 2000 head yarding at Wodonga saw strong demand from restockers for the reasonable supply of young cattle yarded, and heavy competition from feedlot buyers for an increased offering of medium weight steers. 


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