MOST young cattle values declined in value in online treading last week – some sharply.
Widespread rain over the week to Friday failed to have a major impact on cattle supply, with AuctionsPlus commercial cattle offerings hitting 18,656 head. While offerings remained healthy, the rain seemed to have a major impact on demand, but not in the traditional upwards manner. A lack of immediate buyer interest from Queensland and northern NSW players contributed to a consistent decline in young steer prices, as buyers’ attention was focused on to more immediate rain-induced issues.
The season-defining rain through central and southern Queensland last week are likely to have a significant long-term positive impact on the cattle market. While fingers remain crossed that short-term damage and losses are minimised, once producers can get back out into paddocks to assess the impact, herd rebuilding efforts are anticipated to commence in earnest, putting further pressure on an already historically high breeding market.
Follow up falls through NSW were also registered last week, especially through northern inland parts of the state, raising the prospects of a third consecutive wet winter.
Light young steers declined considerably last week, with 200-280kg steers dropping $73 or 43c/kg on last week, to average $1728 or 688c/kg. With 2,272 head offered, at an 84pc clearance, there was a noted absence of some frequent northern bidders, which reduced competition. From Walcha, Northern Tablelands NSW, a line of 20 Shorthorn steers 7-8 months averaging 260kg returned $1920/head – purchased by a buyer at Narrabri, NSW. From Kilkivan, Southern Queensland, a line of 43 Charolais cross steers 6-8 months averaging 223kg returned $1810, or 813c/kg.
The lightest steer category less than 200kg attracted only 438 head for competition, but still fell 93c/kg on the previous week, to average 554c.
For the mid-range 280-330kg steers, price declines were less severe, down 3c/kg to average 654c/kg, with an 82pc clearance for the 1976 head offered.
Steers 330-400kg experienced a sharp 48c/kg decline in average value due to the absence of northern bids, with the 493 head offered down from 1849 head the previous week. Clearance fell from 82pc, to 55pc, week-to-week.
From Orange, Central West NSW, a line of 60 Angus steers 11-12 months averaging 366kg returned $2,480/head. From Miles, Southern Queensland, a line of 34 Santa cross steers 14-17 months averaging 388kg returned $2300.
A significant lack of feeder demand hit the heaviest steer category hard this week, with 400kg+ steers dropping 44c/kg or $330/head on the previous week, to average 507c or $2249. The clearance rate for the reduced offering only reaching 46pc – the lowest in several months.
For the five young heifer categories, movements were less volatile than the steers, with some lighter categories showing small rises in c/kg terms. However, clearances were noticeably subdued, as vendors remained hesitant to shift reserve levels.
Heifers 200-280kg averaged 15c/kg lower (but $17 higher in $/head terms, due to weight and quality differences), at 656c/kg, while 330-400kg lines averaged 7c/kg lower (but $32 head higher), at 592c/kg or $2167/head.
From Chinchilla, Southern Queensland, a line of 60 Droughtmaster cross heifers 15-18 months averaging 350kg returned $2025. From Bingara, NSW, 41 Speckle Park heifers 6-9 months averaging 266kg returned $2370/head, or 892c/kg.
There was another excellent offering of PTIC cows and PTIC heifers this week, with offerings of 3238 head and 3242 head, respectively.
At an unusually low 39pc clearance, PTIC heifers averaged $84 higher on last week, at $2979, while the cows slipped $3 on last week, to $3083 – with a much healthier 71pc clearance.
As has been the trend throughout 2022, PTIC heifer clearance rates are expected to rise in the coming days, as post-sale negotiations kick-in.
From Pentland, North Queensland, a line of 88 Brangus PTIC cows, 2-4 years averaging 470kg returned $2920. Joined to Brangus bulls, the PTIC cows are destined for a long trip south to Nyngan, NSW. A second line of 88 slightly older cows from the same vendor made $2940.
From Mortlake, Southwest Victoria, a line of 25 Angus cows three years averaging 448kg, with calves, returned $3940/head. The units were purchased by a buyer in Bailup, WA.