Roma price differential reflects northern plight

James Nason, 15/08/2012

The loss of shipping orders to Indonesia is playing out in price trends at the weekly Roma store cattle sale, where agents are reporting an emerging price differential between Brahman cattle and other types.

Landmark Roma senior livestock manager and key account manager, Western Queensland, Rod Turner said the market for Brahman steers had come back compared to other cattle in recent weeks as the flow of weaners from frost-affected areas of western Queensland inundated the selling centre.

While buyers for the Indonesian live export trade report an undersupply of cattle below the 350kg weight limit for the market in northern areas, further south it is a different story.

Mr Turner said 220kg Brahman steers were making $1.70-$1.75c/kg liveweight at yesterday’s Roma store sale, while softer flatback-type steers of equivalent weight were making up to $2.46c/kg.

“It has definitely gone right back, and it is just that there are quite a few Brahman cattle available at the moment because of what is happening the north,” Mr Turner said.

However heifers of equivalent weights of all breeds, including Brahmans, had been selling well, he said, boosted by competition from southern processors.

“They are buying those cattle because they are fresher,” Mr Turner said. “They are making $2 or better for the little heifers, and it doesn’t matter what breed they are.”

The deterioration in pasture conditions across southern Queensland during winter has been reflected in the patchy nature of quality in recent Roma yardings.

The Roma region itself had endured 38 consecutive frosts as of this morning, while the traditional catchment areas for the large weekly store sale in south western Queensland were also quickly drying off.

Mr Turner said it was likely that most weaners had now been sold with supply likely to dry up at the end of August.

The bull selling season will then dominate attentions at Roma until early October, when the Roma saleyards receives its next traditional influx of large numbers, freshened up after the arrival of spring.

With the quality of local oats crops starting to fade, oats-finished cattle are now expected to start appearing in larger numbers at Roma and will continue to flow over the next six to eight weeks.

Mr Turner said the impending arrival of spring was injecting new confidence into buyer demand, reflected in the 246c/kg paid for 220-290kg Santa steers yesterday.

“The main reason it is picking up right at this point in time is that people can see it is only a few weeks away until Spring,  and confidence is starting to lift,” he said.

“There was definitely renewed confidence in the buying there yesterday, there were NSW operators there and a few big pastoral companies have been buying steers to send into the channel country.”

Elders Roma branch manager Rod Doig said the market for feeder heifers at yesterday’s sale was dear, with a contract for Woolworths helping to push 400kg heifers to around 205c/kg.

“They are just short of the soft sort of feeder heifers they require, there are not big numbers of them getting yarded,” Mr Doig said.

He agreed that the market for store steers was strong, with good quality 310-315kg Santa steers going back to graziers in the Wandoan district for 236c/kg.

“Black baldys and Hereford steers and soft British-bred steers are making that 235c as well,” he said.


Following is the weekly press report detailing prices at yesterday's Roma sale:

A total of 5916 head of cattle were penned at Roma’s Store Sale on Tuesday.

Feeder steers in the 400-550kg range topping at 196c/kg and averaging 176c/kg, while steers in the 350-400kg range reached 199c/kg and averaged 188c/kg and steers in the 280-350kg range reached 246c/kg and averaged 203c/kg. Weaner steers in the 220-280kg range reached 246c/kg and averaged 213c/kg, while weaners under 220kg topped at 224c/kg and averaged 211c/kg.

Wallockatoo Pastoral Co, Wandoan, sold Santa steers to 246c for 291kg to return $717.

The Harland family, Glenolive, Injune, sold Santa-cross steers to 236c for 272kg to return $644. They also sold Charolais-cross heifers to 192c for 298kg to make $573.

Peel Mungerie, Inverness, Blackall, sold Charolais-cross steers to 229c for 345kg to return $790. They also sold Charolais heifers to 185c for 306kg to make $567.

Nellybri Pastoral Co, Surat, sold Droughtmaster-cross steers for 224c and averaged 207c for 262kg to return $543. They also sold Droughtmaster heifers to 198c and averaged 188c for 213kg to make $400.

The Hamilton family, Glenhaughton Taroom, sold Angus steers to 222c for 257kg to return $570.

The Russell family, Wodonga, Mungalalla, sold Charolais steers to 218c for 257kg to make $561.

Woonoona Pastoral Co, Roma, sold Angus-cross steers to 217c for 281kg to return $611. They also sold Charolais-cross heifers to 197c for 213kg to make $420.

The Burey family, Springhill, Amby, sold EU Charolais-cross steers to 216c for 267kg to return $578.

John and Lyn Hudson, Maranoa Downs, Mitchell, sold Droughtmaster-cross steers to 211c for 258kg to make $545.

The Little family, Randwick Downs, Cunnamulla, sold Droughtmaster-cross steers to 210c for 301kg to return $632.

Ruben Clunes, Lorraine, Roma, sold Droughtmaster steers to 210c and averaged 201c for 251kg to return $505.

Lyndon Caves Pastoral Co, Roma, sold Santa-cross steers to 195c for 463kg to make $904.

The Cameron family, Bidgie Downs, Roma, sold Charbray steers to 190c for 279kg to make $530.

The Kirby family, Clonard, Bollon, sold Brahman heifers to 179c for 410kg to make $735. 

Heifers in the 350-450kg range reached 202c and averaged 158c.

Heifers in the 280-350kg range topped at 192c/kg and averaged 166c/kg.

Heifers in the 220-280kg range topped at 198c/kg and averaged 181c/kg, while heifers under 220kg topped at 202c/kg and averaged 189c/kg.

Cows over 500kg hit 157c and averaged 138c, while cows 400-500kg topped at 164c and averaged 127c. Cows in the 300-400kg range made 126c and averaged 112c.

Bulls up to 400kg reached 180c to average 150c.



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