RESTOCKERS have pulled back from the market in the past week, causing the NSW Restocker Yearling Steer Indicator to dive 115 cents a kilogram early this week.
The indicator was on 493c/kg on Monday, but it's worth noting that's also about 62c/kg higher than this time last year.
With winter weather starting to close in across some districts, graziers may be accessing their pastures and feed reserves, particularly in those regions that haven't had much rain in the past month.
Young cattle bought by restockers were considerably cheaper at Carcoar on Tuesday, with the young steers selling from 400c/kg to 592c/kg and the young heifers to 490c/kg.
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That's in contrast to the feeder cattle, which were 11c/kg dearer, with feeder steers selling to 486c/kg.
Restockers were also very cautious when bidding at Wagga Wagga on Monday.
Meat and Livestock Australia didn't supply the normal table of data in its report for Wagga this week, so analysis of the actual restocker bids was not possible, but the commentary said steers suitable for the trade sold from 420c/kg to 490c/kg.
Lighter cattle suitable for restockers were limited at Tamworth on Monday, but the market was generally also cheaper.
Meanwhile, not all markets reported softer pricing in the past week.
The agents at Nowra reported that milk-fed vealers weighing an average of 413kg sold for 487c/kg or a very healthy $2011 a head.
Feeder price gets an audit
THE Feeder Yearling Steer Indicator, calculated by Meat and Livestock Australia, is set for a revamp next month.
The indicator is used by various parts of the beef and cattle industry to inform and guide important business decisions and MLA said the feeder market was a growing segment of the Australian cattle supply chain.
MLA said a more robust, relevant and accurate indicator was required to ensure the long-term success of the industry by enabling more informed business decisions.
Apart from a name change (from the Feeder Yearling Steer Indicator to the Feeder Steer Indicator), the stock category, muscle score, fat score and weight will all be broadened.
The current indicator uses C2 yearling steers weighing 330 to 400 kilograms (liveweight).
The new indicator will also add grown steers and all muscle and fat scores will be included. The weight range will be expanded to all cattle up to 600kg.
MLA said the change will precede a broader review of all MLA's existing indicators, as well as the development of new ones to better support an ever-changing industry.
"The specifications of the indicator have been broadened to encompass a larger volume of cattle, providing a more accurate assessment of the feeder market," MLA said.
MLA said the update will allow for seasonal changes and reflect current and emerging trends.
The updates will occur on May 17.
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