THE cattle market is showing signs of having hit its winter price ceiling.
Bidding at saleyards on Monday and late last week was generally softer, with restockers in particular backing away from the record price heights recorded earlier in the month.
All the national price indicators for cattle closed lower on Monday night, with the exception of cows, which were supported by some very low numbers at major saleyards.
The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator slipped just below 720c/kg carcass weight, to mark a correction of about 6c/kg on the record average of 725c/kg of a week ago.
The national price average for heavy steers shed 5c/kg on Monday to close 337c/kg liveweight, while cows held firm at an average of 250c/kg.
Restockers were largely responsible for the price correction on young yearlings and steers, with the National Livestock Reporting Service noting that they were a lot more selective with their money.
The NLRS said this stood out at Wagga Wagga, NSW, on Monday, the scene of some spirited bidding by restockers in the past fortnight. The NLRS said “restockers were not as keen to push over 400c/kg (liveweight for young steers back to the paddock)”.
While there was one pen of well-bred lightweight Angus weaner steers that sold for the top rate of 409c/kg to restockers, most sales to the paddock were 3c to 27c/kg lower. The main lines of yearling steers to restockers averaged 389c/kg for heavier types over 330kg (down 5c on a week ago), and 395c/kg for smaller calves 280-330kg.
In comparison, feedlot competition at Wagga Wagga remained solid with the main run of 347 heavy yearling steers (400kg plus) averaging 371.8c/kg to be 3c better than a week ago.
The market did show some change on secondary heifers, which were discounted at most saleyards on Monday.
There was a wide price range of 290c to 395c/kg liveweight across nearly 900 heifers at Wagga Wagga, with most sales of the better quality types from 320c to 380c/kg.
Price results for export steers were mixed on Monday. At Pakenham a limited selection of 80 grown steers sold from 333c-363c/kg to be anything from a few cents dearer to 10c cheaper, according to NLRS. There were just 252 cows at Wagga Wagga this week (usually there is 600 plus) and prices were mostly dearer with the best beef females making up to 304c/kg liveweight.