PROCESSORS claim they're not making any money from cattle due to the sky-high prices.
However, the money being paid for prime heavy steers in NSW saleyards and over-the-hooks continues to climb.
Over-the-hooks rates for a 300 to 400 kilogram (carcase weight) steer topped at 715c/kg (cwt) this week, while the average was 703c/kg, according to Meat and Livestock Australia's reporting.
The average price for this weight category rose about 100c/kg since January and is about 110c/kg higher than this time last year.
- A new milestone as EYCI hits 1003.44c/kg
- Cows power ahead at prime markets
- Carcoar feeder steers hit record breaking 555.2c/kg
Saleyard values for MLA's Heavy Steer Indicator in NSW surged another 32c/kg (liveweight) in the past week to settle at 437c/kg.
It's not just NSW hitting high prices as the Eastern States Heavy Steer Indicator lifted to a record 434c/kg on Tuesday last week.
Nutrien agent Scott Simshauser, Tamworth, said tight supply was the reason the market remained strong.
"The premium prices for feeder cattle have deterred producers from holding onto them until they hit the heavier weight," he said.
He said producers had been able to cash in at the lighter weight and still make a good return.
"The large majority of producers say they have no regrets in doing this," he said.
But as a result, there are fewer heavy steers available.
Milk- and two-tooth steers tipping the scales at 603kg hit 501c/kg or $3023 a head at Tamworth on Monday. Mr Simshauser said the steers had been running on oats at Montague Station near Narrabri.
Supply also remains tight further south where MLA market reporter Graeme Richard said grown steers lifted 12c/kg at Yass last Thursday and sold from 418c/kg to 445c/kg and grown heifers to processors jumped 30c/kg, ranging from 340c/kg to 425c/kg depending on age.
In the Central West, MLA market reporter David Monk said grown steers and heifers were 15c/kg dearer and more in places at the Dubbo prime sale last Thursday.
"Prime grown steers sold from 361c/kg to 458c/kg, while the prime grown heifers sold from 360c/kg to 437c/kg," Mr Monk said.
He noted the limited supply of cows also pushed prices to a new Dubbo saleyards record of 387c/kg for heavy cows to the processors.
Love agricultural news? Sign up for The Land's free daily newsletter.