Strong demand from live exporters in Queensland combined with continued call for US-bound grinding beef out of southern processors has maintained solid prices for surplus bulls in spite of the drought-induced offload.
A reduction in cow numbers across NSW and in particular throughout the north, which remains desperately dry, has resulted in large numbers of bulls sold at prime markets this week.
At Tamworth on Monday there were more than 100 bulls sold, with three of them making above $3000, including the top price of $3175 for a 1230 kilogram Angus sold through Elders.
New demand for heavy bulls for the live export trade combined with a favourable dollar has maintained bull prices.
A Shorthorn bull sold by Purtle Plevey Agencies, Manilla, 1150kg, made 263c/kg to return $3046. Another four bulls weighed in at more than a tonne.
At Inverell there were 35 bulls up for auction, the same number as the week before with 21 going to Townsville, before boarding a live export ship bound for Asia.
Top prices from live export buyers were 292c/kg or $2044 while processors paid the top money of $3300 at 279c/kg.
Dubbo yarded 60 bulls last Thursday, with the best exhibiting muscle score B, fat score 2, topping at $3250. A pen of Angus from a Trangie vendor made 261c/kg.
Grafton prime sale on Tuesday yarded 41 bulls out of a total yarding of 564 with traditional buyers such as EC Throsby at Singleton, JBS and Monbeef at Cooma snapping up supply with prices to 275c/kg and $2265.
Monbeef livestock manager Pat Clever said the handy Aussie dollar, trading below US68c, and continued demand from the US for grinding beef worked in producers' favour while new demand for heavy bulls for the live export trade out of Townsville into South east Asia had now created greater demand which, in this drought year, was a benefit for those with surplus bulls.
Livestock agent Ian Morgan, Quirindi, said female cow numbers were back 30 to 50 per cent with the result that surplus sires were being offloaded at local prime sales. Tamworth bidders saw young bulls surplus to stud requirements making more than 260c/kg which certainly deflected some of the cost of preparation. Larger bulls over the tonne made in the order of $2000 to $2500.
Victorian markets have been stronger, with reports of prices to 320c/kg.