YOUNG cattle have cracked the elusive 600c/kg mark this week to put Australia’s burgeoning beef market at an all-time high.
For southern NSW and Riverina producers the timing of the record Eastern Young Cattle Indicator couldn’t be better. The record prices hit home in perfect timing to coincide with the major weaner sales at Wodonga.
While lining the pockets of breeders, those close to the industry say the prices are a real shot in the arm and provide just rewards for producers who turn off top young cattle.
Meat and Livestock Australia market reporter, Leann Dax has been covering the weaner sales and also attends the regular sales at Wagga and Wodonga.
“The northern feedlots and exporters have shifted gears this week,” she said. In fact, it is the northern support that market analysts attribute to the high prices. Some of the major feeder finishing regions of Australia received handy rain and this competition is going head to head with the needs of southern restockers.
“In the past two weeks of feature store sales including southern sales, the store sales peaked at Wodonga at the exclusively all Angus sale last Thursday,” Ms Dax said.
She said to achieve those record highs again there would need to be more rain in the north of NSW. Ms Dax said the market drivers included a better season in the north – which is home to some big feedlots – plus an export boat order and the constant restocker demand.
“The local restockers were prepared to spend around the $1000 head mark, but not necessarily push rates much higher,” she said. Elders Wagga livestock agent and auctioneer Joe Wilks said the current market was fueled by supply and demand. “It is a bit of a numbers game and they have had the rain up north,” he said.
And despite the dizzy highs for well-bred young weaners and feeder cattle some categories were in fact back slightly on last year’s levels. “We saw prices of up to 375c/kg at Wagga for light weight steers and at the southern weaner sales 380c/kg was paid for steers and 350c/kg for heifers,” he said. “I would suggest that our cattle market at Wagga on Monday will be strong again,” he said.