Cattle - By Zoë Macfarlan
Cattle listings were firm for the month of July with 71,583 head listed, only a 706 head decrease from June. Continued rainfall across areas of the eastern seaboard is a contributing factor to the smaller numbers on offer. This rainfall has also sustained restocking demand which saw prices and clearance rates remain strong for several stock categories. A highlight for the month was Queensland dominating the cattle listings with a total of 28,840 head on the box, a whopping 40% of the national offering.
Once more, it was Southern QLD who dominated listings with 9,492 head on the box. Despite numbers being back 5,380 head on last month, the area totalled 13% of the overall catalogue listings for the month. These numbers were predominately a combination of weaner steers (2,864 head) and yearling & grown heifers (1,970 head). Western QLD followed closely with 8,630 head listed, increasing from 6,927 head last month.
Overall clearance for July sat at 78%, firm on last month, highlighting the continued demand and buyer confidence. Weaner steers and heifers were the most sought-after stock categories this month with 90% and 87% clearance rates, respectively. As a state, Tasmania saw the strongest clearance with 86%, while Queensland and Victoria were not far behind with 80% each.
Southern QLD, the Central West and the N.W. Slopes & Plains of NSW were once again the top three purchasing regions securing 8,845 head, 7,844 head and 7,470 head, correspondingly. As these regions continue to experience positive seasonal conditions, buyer confidence persists with many jumping back into the market to fill paddocks full of feed.
Several stock categories saw overall price increases for the month of July, the most notable being cows with calves at foot (CAF) jumping $84 on June’s averages. Yearling & grown heifers also increased, rising 7c on the previous month to average 382c, with a line of Speckle Park/Angus heifers topping the category selling for 583c. Following the trend of females being in high demand this month, weaner heifers also increased, up 3c to average 452c. Yearling & grown steers rose 1c to average 399c with a 73% clearance rate while PTIC cows were up $2 to average $1,900.
With sustained demand from restocking regions and a tightened supply, the cattle market looks set to remain strong heading into the final month of winter.
Sheep - By Michael McManus
Sheep and lamb numbers decreased for the month of July with 250,489 head offered online, a decrease of 105,944 head from last month. The large decrease in numbers was attributed to reduced numbers in the national sheep sale where just over half of what was seen in June was listed for July. A few key selling regions where right back on their numbers, led by S.W Victoria with their listings for July less than half the numbers seen in June. Western Queensland was the largest listing region offering 35,278 head followed by the Central West listing just over 30,000 head.
Despite reduced listings, demand eased this month with clearance dipping by 9% to sit at 68%. Prices for most stock categories held firm or retracted slightly with the largest decrease seen across ewes with lambs at foot, falling $10 to average $337. Merino ewes reported dearer market trends averaging $199, up $10, whilst Merino ewe hoggets also reported a marginal price increase of $2, to average $238.
Central Western, NSW continue their purchasing spree securing 43,802 head, or 25% of the catalogue. This more than doubled the next highest purchasing region which was the Riverina who bought 18,138 head. The Central West is still looking to the breeding articles, particularly SIL lines with just over 7,000 head purchased for the month followed closely by future breeder ewe lambs. Mixed sex lines were another sought after articles for Central West buyers with the region securing 5,248 head. Purchasing decisions from the region this month indicates that producers are looking to give themselves options; looking to trade articles and cash in on strong prices whilst also maintaining re-stocking goals.
There were 106,628 head of lambs offered this month, of which 40% of the offering were Merino wether lambs with 28% of the lamb catalogue comprising of crossbred lambs. Merino wether lambs resulted in a 63% clearance and averaged $131, down $7. Crossbred lambs achieved a 78% clearance and averaged $142, down $4.
Merino ewe lambs were down $21, to average $195. First Cross ewe lambs were also down averaging $275, back $15. SIL Merino ewes returned a $264 average for the month, decreasing $4 on last, whilst First Cross SIL articles decreased by $20 to average $365. Merino ewes with LAF reported dearer market trends, increasing by $12 to average $330 and First Cross ewes with LAF averaged $353, dropping $36.