By Emma Fessey & Holly Baker, AuctionsPlus Market Insights
Cattle - By Emma Fessey
What a winter! It is hard to believe that the cold months are now behind us as we gear up for a huge spring! The month of August saw 54,984 head of cattle listed online, a decrease of 16,700 head from July. Despite the reduced offering this month, the market maintained its value with tight supply continuing to fuel high prices across the board. Cold weather and a few frosty mornings certainly did not freeze up fingers hitting the ‘bid’ button this month, with clearance rates reaching 88% across the various stock categories. Restocking demand throughout the Eastern States was sustained, underpinning the strong steer and heifer market which continue to see dearer price trends.
With the nations north preparing for a positive spring outlook, Southern Queensland was the purchasing powerhouse for August, securing 9,328 head, equivalent to 20% of all cattle sold. Weaner and yearling steers made up 40% of the state’s cattle acquisitions for the month. Strong purchasing numbers were also seen in the NW Slopes and Plains and Central West regions of NSW, securing 6,139 and 5,307 head, respectively.
Trends remained similar regarding listing regions this month. Southern Queensland offered 7,813 head consisting mostly of weaner steers and heifers. Hot on its heels was neighbouring region Western Queensland, offering 7,083 head. Together the two QLD regions accounted for 27% of this month’s catalogue. The N.W. Slopes and plains also produced a strong offering in August with 6,544 head.
Prices for the month averaged dearer across most categories, facilitated by continued restocking and tight supply across many states. Females and breeding stock were very much flavour of the month, with Cows with Calves at foot (CAF) highly sought after achieving a 91% clearance rate and the largest price increase this month, selling $299 higher than July to average $2,526. PTIC heifers saw a $150 increase to average $1,887 whilst PTIC cows saw prices ease back $58 from July to average $1,840, however, clearance rates for the stock category increased by 18% to 77%
Weaner steers saw a 15c increase this month, averaging 474c and attaining a 93% clearance rate. Yearling and grown steers also saw dearer market trends, selling 21c higher to average 419c. Weaner heifers held their value, returning an average of 467c, an increase of 16c from July. Yearling and grown heifers followed suit with prices averaging 35c dearer at 418c.
Sheep – By Holly Baker
Sheep and lamb numbers remained firm for the month of August with 251,963 head offered online. The influx of new season lambs saw lamb categories comprise over half of the overall offering, accounting for 52%.
A significant shift in listing regions was observed this month, with the NSW Riverina taking the lead, offering 41,337 head, 12,500 more than July. Western and Central Western NSW followed, offering 31,895 and 20,969 head, respectively. They each predominantly offered crossbred and wether lambs, accounting for 33% of all crossbred lambs and 50% of all wether lambs listed.
Purchasing, however, was again dominated by the restocking regions of Central Western, Riverina and N.W. Slopes and Plains of NSW. Central Western NSW purchased 43,602 head, accounting for 24% of all sold online. The region was the largest purchaser of NSM and SIL Merino ewes, highlighting their continued restocking interests.
Overall clearance for August improved on July’s levels, with 74% achieved for the month. Although prices followed the downward market trend experienced across sale yards around the country. The crippling impact of COVID-19 on the processing capacity at abattoirs and the fall in wool prices is having a significant impact on both sheep and lamb prices, illustrated in many stock categories only holding firm or easing.
The stock categories in demand this month were Merino wether lambs and crossbred lambs, indicating the attractiveness of purchasing trade articles to later cash in on. Merino wether lambs achieved 83% clearance though were back $3, averaging $112. Crossbred lambs also eased by 14c, averaging 388c for the month of August. First cross Border Leicester/Merino ewe lambs were one of the few stock categories to increase, up $2 to average $269.
Sheep prices also eased. NSM Merino ewes averaged $167, back $5; SIL Merino ewes slipped $9 to $249 and first cross SIL ewes eased $11 to $336. Whilst ewes with LAF remained firm to average $306.