A STEADY prime cattle market has provided additional confidence to store stock prices in the lead up to the Christmas break, while grainfed beef exports clock up another record.
Early this week the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator was steady at 577.5 cents a kilogram (carcase weight), but up about 14c/kg on the same time last month.
Cows with calves and yearlings have been the standout at store markets as restockers look to replenish herds after a drier winter and spring.
At the Forbes store cattle sale last Friday, cows with their second or third calf kept the buyers’ rail busy and pushed prices as much as $100 a unit higher.
Young cattle were about $50 a head dearer. Prices climbed to $2500 for breeding units, while some of the top weaner pens returned $1150 a head.
Even the small yarding of just 375 head at the Yass store sale last week attracted spirited bidding with heifers hitting $1100 and cows with calves making $1850.
Hunter region sales were firing too - cow units sold to $2225 a head at Dungog, while at Nabiac’s sale heifers hit $1375 and cows with calves sold for $1975.
Also helping to buoy confidence in the cattle market generally, has been demand for beef on the international market.
Grainfed beef exports for the September quarter hit record levels (73,843 tonnes shipped weight) and were up 12 per cent on the same period in 2016.
Meat and Livestock Australia said this was a result of record numbers on feed in the June 2017 quarter, supported by robust demand overseas for high quality grainfed product.
Frozen grainfed exports helped support the bounce, at 33,720t during the quarter – 45pc of total grainfed exports during the three-month period.
MLA noted the number of cattle on feed at the end of the September quarter was back about 6pc from the June quarter, to 1.025 million head.
The company said numbers on feed remain at historically high levels and heightened investment into the lot feeding sector would continue to see cattle on feed supporting Australian beef production.