June Cattle & Sheep Wrap up!

Holly Baker & Teeah Bungey, AuctionsPlus Market Insights

SHEEP - Teeah Bungey

The month of June saw 356,433 sheep and lambs offered online, an increase of 35,517 on last month. Demand from restockers following a favorable start to the 2020 season for many has seen the high prices achieved across the market holding firm. This month saw a new online record set, with a line of First Cross Border Leicester/Merino SIL ewes selling for $476, surpassing the previous $446 record set last month.

Central West NSW and South West VIC continue on from last month as the two largest listing regions, offering 46,727 and 39,753 head respectively, 24% of the overall catalogue. The Central West NSW offered 15% of the national SIL Merino ewe listings, whilst South West VIC offered 17% of Merino wether lamb listings. Clearance for the month of June dropped slightly on last, with 77% of the sheep and lamb offering sold, back 2% from May.

The Central West NSW continues to dominate online purchases, securing 20% of the catalogue. Of the 69,735 head returning to the region, 21% are Merino Wether Lambs, a cost effective option for many producers looking to capitalize on their paddocks full of feed and receive a quick cash turnover. The region is also looking to rebuild flock numbers demonstrated by the purchasing of 13,174 SIL Merino ewes. Riverina NSWfollowed as the next largest purchasing region securing 44,738 head, predominantly looking breeding stock with SIL Merino ewes accounting for 20% of the purchases.

Despite an increase in offerings for the month, prices have held relatively firm. There were 131,923 lambs offered in June, accounting for 37% of the overall listings for the month. Merino wether lambs accounted for 50% of all lambs listed online, whilst crossbred lambs accounted for 15%. Merino wether lambs were back $3 on last month, averaging $154. Crossbred lambs sold to strong demand, achieving 92% clearance for the 20,198 head offered; whilst their average dropped by $10 to $172.

Merino ewe lambs were up $4 to average $216, while First Cross Border Leicester/Merino ewe lambs averaged $290, up $9. Demand for breeders from restockers resulted in an 82% clearance rate across the SIL offering for June; however prices have eased on last month. SIL Merino ewes dropped $23, to average $268, whilst first cross SIL ewes averaged $365, down $2. Ewes with LAF have started to hit the market; a highlight saw a line of Australian White Ewes with LAF sell for $516. First Cross Border Leicester/Merino ewes with LAF averaged $389, whilst Merino ewes with LAF averaged $318.

CATTLE - Holly Baker

There was a reduction in numbers for the month of June with 72,289 head listed online, 26,000 less than May. A highlight for the month was seeing cattle from Fitzroy Crossing, WA and Katherine, NT travel thousands of kilometers to buyers in Southern QLD and the Hunter, Riverina and Western regions of NSW.

Southern Queensland dominated as the largest listing region, offering 14,872 head, 21% of the overall catalogue. The region predominantly offered both weaner & grown steers and heifers, however, they also provided 13% of all PTIC cows and heifers. Western Queensland and the N.W. Slopes & Plains of NSW followed, listing 6,927 and 5,778 head, respectively.

Clearance rates remained firm on May at 82% which illustrates the continued confidence in the store market. The above average rainfall at the beginning of the year and a positive seasonal outlook heading into winter is providing buyers with the assurance they need to jump back into the market and rebuild numbers.

Three regions have demonstrated this buying confidence and restocking demand; with Southern Queensland, Central Western and the N.W. Slopes & Plains of NSW, the largest purchasing regions for June. Southern Queensland purchased 11,480 head, equivalent to 19% of all cattle sold. Central Western and N.W. Slopes & Plains of NSW bought 7,916 and 7,429 head, respectively.

Prices for the month of June remained firm or experienced dearer market trends for majority of stock categories. Restocking demand continues to support the steer and heifer market as clearance rates and prices were extremely strong. Weaner steers achieved a 92% clearance rate and increased 11c to average 487c, while yearling & grown steers rose 5c to average 402c. Weaner heifers sold 7c dearer, averaging 460c and yearling & grown heifers eased 5c, averaging 380c. Demand for breeding stock eased slightly, seeing cows with calves at foot (CAF) as the only stock category to increase; they averaged $2,335, $150 dearer. Meanwhile, PTIC cows and heifers were back $49 and $9 respectively, averaging $1,883 and $1,775.

The first month of winter has not seen the market demonstrate any signs of slowing with demand from restockers and tight supply supporting the high prices across all stock categories.