Easter inspired cattle selloff

Cattle prices have held firm despite yardings at the state's saleyards hitting the highest throughput for the year.

FATTENING STEERS: Frank Parini, Korumburra, was in the market for replacement steers to fatten at Leongatha store sale last week.

Cattle prices have held firm despite yardings at the state's saleyards hitting the highest throughput for the year.

Victorian cattle producers have increased their cattle turnoff ahead of the fragmented April selling period, due to Easter and ANZAC public holidays, which will reduce cattle sales and abattoir processing.

Thomas Elder Markets analyst Matt Dalgleish said there were 8854 cattle sold at the state's cattle markets last week, a rise of 5.4 per cent on the week prior and marking 14pc above the five-year average.

"We have seen the highest saleyard volumes for the year and in the face of those volumes cattle prices increased in Victoria which says demand is good," Mr Dalgleish said.

"Higher prices in the face of higher supply infer demand is solid; whether that is demand from restockers, feedlots, or processors, there is enough buying demand out there to see prices rise despite the volumes."

Eastern Youg Cattle Indicator hit 1091c/kg carcase weight last week, while heavy steers averaged 468c/kg live weight in Victoria, marking a rise of 12c on the week prior.

Medium steers were up 36c week-on-week across the state to 499c/kg lwt, feeder steers rose 14c to 530c/kg lwt, and vealer steers were up 10c to 604c/kg lwt.

"The week prior we saw prices eased slightly so that may have motivated producers to turnoff cattle with the shutdown of saleyards and reduced abattoir volumes," he said.


"The rain we have seen in NSW and southern Queensland hasn't made it to Victoria either, and the Western District is dry and encouraging producers to lighten their holding load ahead of winter.

"Once we get through Easter and we are back to normal with weekly operations at processors and saleyards it will be interesting to see what is presented and how price behave."

Nutrien Ag Solutions southeast livestock lead Adam Mountjoy said the public holidays and three short weeks of selling this month led to the increased saleyard throughput.

"There are a few factors: the market has been holding relatively strong and feed is starting to get tighter with days cooler, so producers are happy to take the money on offer in early April," Mr Mountjoy said.

"I'd like to think demand in May will increase with a clearer passage to works and slaughter days and continue to improve into the months of winter.

He said these returns have been insulated by the high residual value of slaughter cows.

"I think there is a portion of our clientele out there that would be happy to reduce numbers at the moment given the high demand for breeding females we have seen in recent weeks," Mr Mountjoy said.

"Some producers will see it as the last opportunity to offload surplus numbers because hand feeding will be at the forefront of their minds going into winter - the seasonal conditions in late autumn have let us down in some key southern breeding areas."

Meanwhile online cattle numbers have also spiked 7pc higher in AuctionsPlus trading last week, where 17,848 head were offered.

Weaner steers sold from 361-953c/kg, with light calves 200-280kg steers av 761c/kg - up 16c/kg on last week. Weaner heifers sold online from 373-970c, and av 716c/kg - up 41c/kg.

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