• Loddon Herald

Big highs for cattle

It is only fitting that the national cattle market should end its most astounding year in generations with prices at record levels, reports AuctionsPlus on the week's sales

The young cattle market bounced higher again this week, as the seemingly relentless search for suitable young cattle to put back into paddocks edged-up a notch, assisted by the selling hiatus over the next four weeks. The 15,120 head of commercial cattle offered through AuctionsPlus this week, down 10% on last week, sold to excellent demand, with the lower offering surprising some pundits who were anticipating higher numbers given the looming market break and disrupted access of previous weeks. The depth of buyers’ pockets was again tested, with the largest moves coming for the lightest of the young cattle lines, with light and mid-weight young steers edging higher, while heavy heifers dropped back, as PTIC heifers held onto last week’s gains.

After holding steady last week, 200-280kg steers eased $6, to average $1,769 head, with the 1,909 head offered registering a 93% clearance rate. With a reduced clearance rate of 80%, 280-330kg steers jumped $36 on last week, to average $2,068/head. A 33% decline in heavy steers, 400kg+, assisted a small rise in $/head returns, edging $24 higher, to finish the week and 2022 at $2,530/head. In c/kg terms, heavy steers averaged 8c lower, averaging 561c/kg lwt, with a sale high of 629c/kg lwt.

The final week of sales registered a decline across four of the young heifer categories, with the clearance rates back on last week, as seasonal confidence enables vendors to test the willingness of buyers. The largest category, 200-280kg heifers, with 1,387 head offered – averaged $78 lower, at $1,732/head. 330-400kg heifers averaged $110 lower on last week, at $2,091/head – with an 84% clearance rate for the 1,022 head offered.

Through the proven breeding lines, PTIC heifers made up 45% of offerings this week. With numbers back on last week, the 1,834 head of PTIC heifers sold to a 76% clearance rate, averaging $47 higher, at $3,168/head. A very thin 343 head of PTIC cows were offered this week, averaging $287 lower, at $3,043/head. AuctionsPlus cattle sales will commence January 4, 2022, with plenty of buyers looking towards the weaner and calf sales immediately in the New Year to capture supplies and gauge market sentiment.

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