SHORT trading weeks always seem to throw up difficulty in picking a market trend, but this year's Easter trading disruption, combined with the ongoing COVID-19 issue, makes a commodity analyst's job even more awkward.
Generally, cattle markets were positive in the past week, but that's with limited data with which to play.
There were no cattle markets in NSW on Thursday last week as those centres that were scheduled to sell opted to head off on holidays early.
The public holidays last Friday and on Monday meant the Tuesday sales have been the best indicator of how our NSW cattle market was tracking.
Across all centres this week, the yardings have been well back on the week before. Rain in some areas also meant producers kept cattle in the paddock.
There was limited processor activity due to the reduced offering at the Inverell sale on Tuesday, however well-bred weaners were dearer when sold to the restockers.
Vealer steers topped at 500 cents a kilogram, while the yearlings sold as high as 438c/kg or $1638.
Only about 250 head were offered at Gunnedah prime sale, but there was still solid competition for the quality young cattle.
Restocker demand was high in the lightweight categories, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
The yearlings topped at 400c/kg or $1385 and the vealers sold to 476c/kg.
In a smaller yarding at Scone, there were prime conditioned young cattle to suit the butcher orders, however most went to the restockers and lot feeders.
Vealers to the restockers gained about 9c/kg and topped at 480c/kg.
Restockers paid the top money for yearlings at 414c/kg.
The young prime conditioned cattle bought by the butchers were on average heavier, according to MLA, and the best yearlings reached 410c/kg.
Meanwhile, the lack of trade cattle distorted price trends at Wodonga, with just 280 head reported by MLA.
Not all domestic or export buyers operated, but feedlots and restockers were active.
The pick of the vealer steers sold from 380c/kg to 410c/kg. Yearlings topped at 388c/kg for heifers.
Market Murmurs column pause
THIS will be my last Market Murmurs for a little while as I head off on annual leave.
The column will be back, however - hopefully when some of the COVID-19 restrictions have eased and life is getting back to normal.