AuctionsPlus Market Insights: The crazy month of March that was

By Tom Rookyard, AuctionsPlus Market Insights Team

Tom Rookyard reassuring the crowd that everything is OK


March has seen a flood of stock online due to a combination of factors including record prices, but centrally it has been due to COVID-19. 480,000 sheep and lambs were offered across the month, with Merino wether lambs and Crossbred store lambs making up 35% of the offering. The South West of Victoria topped the listings followed by the Central West of NSW, and Western QLD with 59,000, 44,000 and 39,000 head offered respectively. After the record run in February the market appears to mostly held firm with an overall 70% clearance rate. Crossbred lambs averaging $172, up $7 on January. While SIL Merino and First Cross ewes topped at an average of $267 and $337, up $26 and $28 on February’s averages respectively. However, it appears the last few days of March have seen the market come off the boil slightly as the spread of COVID-19 pushes uncertainty onto the market. The largest purchaser for the month was taken out by the Central West of NSW, seeing 70,000 sheep and lambs bought by the region.


AuctionsPlus has seen record cattle offerings over the month of March, averaging 27,000 head per week, to total 109,000 head offered across the month. With the record prices for non-Wagyu steers and unjoined heifers being broken by a line of 5 to 6 month old 158kg Santa steers from Thallon, QLD selling for 689c. Queensland lead the listings but was split evenly seeing North Queensland, Western Queensland, South West Victoria and Southern Queensland, all offering over 10,000 head. Weaner and Yearling cattle continue to be offered in droves, making up 67% of the listings. The ‘grass fever’ market appears to have fallen whether from COVID-19 concerns or just from general market movements, but the overall clearance has fallen 18% to average at 70% across the platform. Southern Queensland held their position as the top buyer for the month, purchasing 16,000 head, closely followed by the North West Slopes & Plains of NSW, with 13,000 head. NSW continued to restock and build up herds dominating as the buyer of 70% of PTIC cows and heifers, and cows with calves at foot offered. Overall the market has grown or held firm on February, with weaner steers across the month averaging 476c, up 16c on Feb; weaner heifers averaging 417c, up 21c; PTIC cows $1,909, up $224; PTIC heifers averaging $1761 holding firm on Feb, and cows and calves at foot averaging $1,986, down $64 on Feb. However, as with the sheep market the volume offered in the final weeks of March have seen prices slip week to week.