Dry pushes up cattle numbers

Wagga sale rises by 1200 head, dominated by light cattle


Sales
Despite prices for lighter cattle softening, demand remains for heavy cattle. These six Angus heifers averaged 532.5kg and sold for 291c/kg at Yass last Thursday. Photo: SELX

Despite prices for lighter cattle softening, demand remains for heavy cattle. These six Angus heifers averaged 532.5kg and sold for 291c/kg at Yass last Thursday. Photo: SELX

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Light cattle prices fall as supply outweighs demand

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Supply has surged in some saleyards across the state with light cattle making up a large proportion of the offerings due to ongoing dry conditions.

Wagga Wagga recorded a jump of 1200 head on Monday, with 4800 cattle offered.

With supply overwhelming restocker demand, Riverina Livestock Agent, James Tierney, Wagga Wagga, said steers less than 280 to 270 kilograms sold 20 cents a kilogram cheaper, while heifers in the same weight category were cheaper by 20c/kg to 30c/kg.

The National Livestock Reporting Service said light weaner steers averaged 262c/kg or $652/head and lightweight store heifers returning to the paddock were discounted heavily, selling for 174c/kg to 263c/kg.

Mr Tierney said a lot of the light cattle were coming from the Western Riverina, while buyers were from Victoria and South Australia.

"Victorian buyers have got feed and ours is rapidly diminishing," Mr Tierney said.

"If you were able to, there's no doubt the light cattle coming through now would be a good buy. Prime cattle and cows are selling well, feeder cattle have eased off in the past fortnight but it's still pretty good."

Cattle numbers also lifted at Carcoar with 2469 yarded, up by 543 head.

McCarron Cullinane livestock agent, Lindsay Fryer, Orange, said with dry weather on the outlook there was a strong push to sell.

"Cattle are coming off crops that have been struggling and are being brought to the saleyards, that's what's keeping our numbers up," Mr Fryer said.

He said, like Wagga Wagga, they were also relying heavily on southern buyers.

"The locals are quiet in the market at the moment, they're sitting back, waiting to see what the weather is going to do," Mr Fryer said.

He said light cattle prices were recording a 10 to 15 per cent fall each week.

"Our black Angus steers that weigh 300kg will still make 300c/kg, once you're getting under that weight you're probably getting 270c/kg to 290c/kg for black steers and the light heifers are making 230c/kg through to 260c/kg depending on quality and type," Mr Fryer said.

Ruralco livestock agent, Scott Newberry, Tamworth, said producers selling off cattle earlier than usual at lighter weights had put pressure on the market at the Tamworth saleyards.

"You don't usually see these cattle until later in the year, but they're being offered in August and September," Mr Newberry said.

"People speculating on the feed side of things in our area lived in hope up until six weeks ago, but definitely at the moment the interest in buying cattle back is limited compared to the people that want to be selling them.

"We are now seeing lighter weight weaner heifers under 200c/kg again as demand weakens."

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