WHILE there were plenty of twists and turns in this week’s AuctionsPlus Cattle Trade Sales, the week’s end results were generally higher, seeing young heifer lines regain most of last week’s slippage. With total bids down 15% from last week at 12,318 head, competition was strong from the lighter lines as buyers continue to watch proven breeders.
Final sale value on reserve continues to be at historically high levels, averaging $206/head this week, while average clearance rates reached 78% at the end of sales.
If the past two weeks of widespread rainfall in the eastern states is any indication of the rejuvenated La Nina seasonal outlook, the ability to access and move livestock during the summer months may be one of the biggest barriers to overcome for the market.
Although recent wet conditions provide growers with flexibility and options heading into the final quarter, as evidenced by very tight bids in recent months, there are still bills to pay and the desire for cash will begin to influence marketing decisions.
Indeed, growers traditionally sell for two reasons: no weed or no cash; in the coming months, it looks like income will have a greater influence on sales decisions than feed supply.
The seemingly endless search for quality lightweight steers has pushed lines 200-280kg higher this week, with the small supply of just 895 head averaging 94c/kg more than last week, at 744c/kg – with a clearance of 96pc. From Beaudesert, South Queensland, 25 weaned Ultrablack steers aged 7-12 months weighing an average of 268kg fetched $1,800/head.
It was a similar market for 280-330kg steers, with tight supply helping prices climb 16c/kg last week to an average of 641c/kg. The offered 710 head finished with a clearance of 72pc.
The 330-400kg steer category was the only one to take a step back this week, finishing 3c/kg lower, at 594c on average. With a relatively large supply of 1998 head, the 85pc clearance reflects fierce bidding on many lines. From Wantabadgery, Riverina NSW, 168 Poll Hereford steers aged 12-13 months sold from 592c/kg for lighter line 388kg to 593.7c/kg for heavier line 411kg – $170 more than reserve .
Heavy steers were flat this week, with 1535 head sold at a clearance of 82pc and on average 13c more than last week – at 584c/kg. From Nyngan, Central West NSW, 33 10-14 month old Brangus feeder steers averaging 414kg fetched $2170/head.
The young heifer market recouped much of last week’s losses, with the largest category, 330-400kg, rising $114, averaging $2,288/head. From Caroona, NSW Northwest Slopes and Plains, 57 future NSM Angus breeding heifers aged 13-14 months and weighing an average of 397kg fetched $2,620.
For lighter lines, 200-280kg heifers increased by 8c last week, to 670cc, with a healthy clearance of 88pc for the 1039 head offered. The 280-330kg heifers averaged 71c more, more than making up for last week’s drop, to an average of 695c.
There was a limited supply of heifers over 400 kg, with the average for the week slipping from $30 to $2,274/head. From Hughenden in North Queensland, 106 Charolais x Santa feeder heifers aged 15-21 months weighing an average of 419kg fetched $2,180 or 520c/kg.
There was no respite from tight supply from proven breeders this week, with the 1270 PTIC heifers selling at a clearing of 54pc at market close. PTIC heifers rose an average of $153 last week to $2,717/head.
PTIC cows were the only other proven breeder class of significant size, with all 671 head offered for sale at an 80pc clearance – with prices down $511 last week, averaging $2385/ head.
From Wangolina, Lower SE SA, 57 EU Accredited PTIC Shorthorn cows 3-10 years old averaging 511kg mated to Shorthorn bulls fetched $2320.
Prices at 2 p.m., Friday, September 16.