Weekly kill: Cow prices crack historic 600c

Jon Condon, 20/10/2020

FOR the first time in history, heavy cow prices in some Queensland processor grid offers have hit 600c in recent days, valuing a typical 320kg cull female at $1980, before grid penalties.

In another reflection of the desperate shortage of slaughter cattle as the 2020 season draws towards its end, most cow grids in Queensland have lifted 10-15c this last week’s kill report.

The direct consignment slaughter market has been in a fluid state for the past week, with some grids correcting twice in the past seven days, typically up 15-20c/kg.

Grassfed steer prices in Queensland also rose sharply since last Tuesday, hitting a record 670c/kg for four-tooth heavy export ox on Friday, in some cases up 15c. Grain markets have moved in parallel, with spot-market implanted 100-day milk/two-tooth ox, and 70-day grainfed yearling in southern Queensland this morning quoted at 670c and 665c, respectively. Given that these categories are milk or two-tooth, it in fact represents a ‘negative premium’ against four tooth grassfed ox price listed above.

Central Queensland grids are again identical to those in southern regions of the state this week

With some HGP-free cattle entering certified grassfed programs earning 700c/kg this week, suddenly the big premiums between generic and grassfed niche cattle in some company programs do not look quite so large. Indeed, three decks of HGP-free heavy grass bullocks sold at Roma store sale this morning for 382c/kg liveweight probably made close to 700c/kg deadweight equivalent, veteran onlookers suggested. See Roma store report tomorrow.

Beef Central drew attention to the contrast between the surge in slaughter cow prices and the sharp decline in export manufacturing beef prices in this article published on Friday.

Recent attention-grabbing slaughter cattle price movements have had little tangible effect on supply, however, with processor contacts this morning suggesting even modest kills were still extremely hard to raise.

With large parts of eastern Queensland, NSW and Victoria forecast by BOM to receive 25-50mm of rain or more over the next week, processors could be further tested in access to slaughter stock heading into November.

Further south, processor grids are typically 20pc behind Queensland cow grids this week, with publicly accessible grids showing Teys Wagga and Naracoorte cows at 580c and four-tooth export steers at 635c at both sites – about 30c below northern rates.

Eastern states seven-day kill

There was a sharp rise in the eastern states seven day kill to Friday, reflecting the public holiday-shortened week the week before, when Labour Day or Queen’s birthday holidays were celebrated in most states.

Last week’s five-state tally reached 108,783 head, up 23pc on the week before, but still 28pc behind this week last year.

All states were well up, with Queensland rising 20pc on the previous week to 54,475 head, while NSW jumped 37pc to 29,846 head. Victoria lifted 20pc to 17,222 head, South Australia drifted slightly higher to 3296 head, and Tasmania rise 3pc to 3944 head.









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