The historically high cattle prices that beef producers have enjoyed for the past several weeks when selling at store and prime sales at the Dalrymple Saleyards in Charters Towers are likely to become the new normal according to long-time livestock agent Kevin Currie from Ray White Rural Townsville.
Mr Currie cited decreasing cattle availability and increasing demand from live export, meatworks and commercial buyers as the chief reasons why he thinks the the market will stay pretty close to where it currently stands across all lines for the next two to three years.
“The market may have plateaud after the rapid rises over the last month.
“Slaughter cows have been making 240-245c/kg, plainer cows that have been fed on have improved 5-10c, bullock prices have generally stayed the same and store steers going on export boats or that are being fed on have increased in value by 30c/kg over that timeframe,” Mr Currie said.
He said even though live export demand won’t be as strong as it was in 2015, the tighter supply will keep prices high, while the reduced availability will also lead to increased competition from processing operations and individual buyers.
Mr Currie’s statement was backed up at Wednesday’s sale with a total of 2,058 head of cattle selling to generally similar or higher prices then the previous sale.
A total of 988 slaughter cattle were yarded consisting of 82 bullocks, 70 heifers, 760 cows and 76 bulls which were drawn from Georgetown, Forsayth, Mt. Surprise, Greenvale, Belyando, local and coastal areas.
Cattle were comprised of mainly cows and a few Bullocks, which met with strong competition from meat processors and local butchers. Bullocks were quoted 5-8c easier, heifers were 10c dearer and cows up 5c on the previous sale.
Heifers to 440kg made 298c to average 264c, while those over 440kg hit 283c to average 271c.
Cows to 400kg reached 270c to average 223c, while those over 400kg topped at 260c to average 236c.
Steers and bullocks to 500kg made 330c to average 277c, while those over 500kg peaked at 295c to average 277c. Bulls over 450kg reached 271c to average 248c.
Clare-based cattle and cane producers Paul and Maria Frasson sold a pen of 13 heavy feeders steers for 330c weighing 391kg to return $1,291/head, while Gael Romano sold two bullocks for 295c weighing 600kg to return $1,771.
The best priced trade heifers were sold by Fry Bloodline Trust which made 298c to weigh 343kg and return $1,023, and the top pen of cows were sold by Mt. Douglas Pastoral Co, Mt Douglas, Charters Towers for 252c to weigh 582kg and return $1,467.
Atkinson Pastoral Co, Katandra, Hughenden, sold 18 Droughtmaster cows for 251c to weigh 554kg and return $1,392, and bulls sold by Campbell Grazing, topped at 271c and weighed 680kg to return $1,844.
In the store section 1,070 head were yarded for the sale consisting of 520 steers, 449 heifers and 101 cows calves.
Feeder lines were again in high demand with a good percentage of store weight cattle meeting with strong competition from southern feedlots, backgrounders and one exporter.
Steers to 200kg made 405c to average 396c, 200-320kg steers reached 386c to average 342c, 32-400kg steers hit 354c to average 334c and those over 400kg peaked at 324c to average 314c.
Heifers to 200kg topped at 346c to average 322c, 200-320kg heifers made 322c to average 297c, heifers 320-370kg made 336c to average 301c and one heifer over 370kg made 243c.
A pen of 10 steers sold by R & V Downing, made 405c and weighed 185kg to return $749, while a good pen of 23 Brahman-cross heifers sold by LA & ML Brazier, Charters Towers made 346c to weigh 179kg and return $620.
A pen of six Red Brahman-cross steers sold by JH & CJ Butler, Charters Towers made 404c to weigh 160kg and return $646 per head, while cows and calves sold by Keny Cameron, Charters Towers returned $1,300/unit.