INCREASED competition in the market has seen yearling steer prices climb back to year high prices at Muchea.
According to market reports over the past few weeks, the cents per kilogram price for liveweight yearling steers topped February’s average high of 290 cents a kilogram to 295c/kg for three weeks in a row – after dropping as low as 260c/kg from April to the end of July.
While the price is still below the 320c/kg price achieved in February and March last year, it is a positive sign for those selling at Muchea heading into summer.
Elders reported on November 12 that “live exporters were active” in the market at Muchea, “causing light and medium weight bulls as well as yearling steers to increase 10c/kg”.
This highlighted the impact the presence of exporters has on the WA market.
“In the pastoral section vealer and yearling steers gained 10-40c/kg on a better selection”, Elders said.
“In the local section of the yarding vealer steers sold from 300-372c/kg, up 30c/kg on comparative types.
“Yearling steers were up 10c/kg driven by live export and made from 234-310c/kg.”
Elders representative Don Morgan said “the price is pretty good at the moment” and was driven by a new buyer in the market, who entered around August.
He said a lot of pastoral cattle had been through the yards which would die down and be replaced by more local cattle in coming weeks.
At Mt Barker, Elders reported on November 8 that “yearling steers continued to sell well to feedlots at similar rates to the previous week with steers up to 330kg averaging 300c/kg”.
“Steers up to 400 kilograms topped at 320c/kg to average 304c/kg with heavy yearling steers more than 400kg topping at 304c/kg for a 297c/kg average for steers to 450kg,” Elders Mt Barker said.
Landmark Boyanup also reported on November 13 that export beef steers 500-600kg were up 10-15c/kg to 250-290c/kg, while 500-600kg weights achieved a 10-15c/kg increase to 290-296c/kg.
Export beef steers 600kg plus were up 5-8c/kg to 248-260c/kg.
Vealer steers from 280-330kg were up by 5-8c/kg to 320-324c/kg, and vealer steers 330kg plus also gained 5-8c/kg to 300-328c/kg.
At Monday’s sale “live exporters were not as active without the urgency to fill current shipments causing an easing of prices on lightweight bulls and yearling steers,” the report said.
“Prime yearling steers were down 7c due to the lack of live export competition at 178-314c/kg,” it said.
It wasn’t a bad price at Muchea on November 12, according to Badgingarra cattle breeder Dale Park who sent in a line of 22 Murray Grey cross steers weighing 237.4 kilograms, to achieve 303.5 cents a kilogram or $720.43 per head.
Mr Park said the market had picked up in recent weeks but the price wasn’t as high as he had received in the past.
“We had better prices two to three years ago when we were getting $4/kg for them,” Mr Park said.
“It would be nice to see those prices come back.”
Mr Park said they were the last of his steers to send to the yards, although he still had some heifers and bulls to turn off.
He said his business would be taking a different direction in coming months as he took up a backgrounding contract with Harvey Beef to take about 500-600 head of cattle.
The number of head would be on a needs basis and it would remove a lot of the costs associated with transporting to and from the farm, as the Harvey Beef would take care of that.
They would also destock before summer to allow for pasture regrowth before another consignment.
Mr Park said it was all new to him so he would see how it went, but the contract price seemed fair and he was looking forward to the change and not having to worry about the breeding side of things.