Rural Markets


February 12. Yarding: 270. Change: down 64. 

Cattle numbers decreased to 270 head this week at Ballarat. Quality was mostly average to good with a good mix of all classes yarded.

The usual buying group plus some extra processor competition operated in an easier market on the cows and young cattle, but a few cents dearer on the medium weight steers.

The yarding was made up of 88 steers, 94 heifers, 67 cows, 21 bulls and a small number of open auction cattle. Vealers sold from 200c to 259c to the trade with feeders and restockers paying from 200c to 298c/kg.

Yearling steers and heifers sold from 211c to 245c to be a few cents easier, with restockers paying from 200c to 252c/kg. Medium weight steers sold to 5c better from 218c to 234c, with heavier weights easing a few cents and selling from 208c to 230c/kg. Grown heifers sold close to firm from 195c to 225c/kg. The manufacturing steers sold from 172c to 196c/kg.

Heavy beef cows, C muscle, 3 and 4 scores, sold close to firm from 175c to 216c/kg. Lighter weights sold from 170c to 177c with other heavier cows from 178c to 195c to be to 10c/kg easier on last week. Light E muscle cows made to 135c/kg. Heavy beef bulls sold from 190c to 235c to be to 5c/kg down on last week.


February 9  

Agents yarded a total of 111 cattle, consisting of 10 bull, 43 cows, 48 heifers and 10 steers.

Vealer steers made 293 cents. Steers over 400kg made 234 cents. Heifers, selling to store competition, sold between 195 and 210 cents. Heifers over 500kg sold from 200 cents to 228 cents. Cows over 600kg sold between 170 and 209 cents to average 205 c/kg. Bulls sold to a top of 238 cents.


February 8. Yarding: 494. Change: up 123.

There was an increased supply of cattle and quality was generally mixed though the overall standard of the vealers was quite high. Most of the regular buyers were present along with some additional strong restocker competition.

Price trends amongst the various categories varied as vealers sold on average 10c/kg higher and yearlings were mainly unchanged.

The grown steers were from equal to 15c dearer and leaner cows were mainly unchanged, but prices declined up to 10c/kg for the better covered 3 to 5 score beef cows.

Heavy weight bulls lifted 5c/kg.

The yarding comprised of 35 grown steers, 25 grown heifers, 275 young cattle, 140 cows and 19 bulls. The better quality B and C muscled vealers sold between 265c and 301c with a top sale at 310c while restockers paid from 250c to 292c/kg.

The few C muscled yearlings to the trade sold between 210c and 255c with an odd sale at 270c and restockers purchased from 210c to 270c/kg. Most D1 and D2 yearlings made between 160c and 200c/kg.

The average to very good C3 and C4 grown steers sold from 225c to 260c while the D2 grades made from 200c to 217c/kg. The E1 cows made 130c to 170c, D1 cows from 165c to 180c and the D2 grade from 180c to 190c/kg.

The C3 to C5 beef cows sold from 196c to 213c and 3 B5 extra heavy weight beef cows made 224c/kg. Heavy weight B2 bulls sold from 229c to 240c/kg.


February 7. Yarding: 961. Change: down 115.

Supply eased and quality was generally quite good in the mixed selection of cattle offered to a mostly regular following of buyers that included an additional exporter this week. Prices lifted on average 5c to 7c/kg for vealers and good quality grown steers. The older grown steers remained unchanged but D2 manufacturing grades were on average 15c/kg dearer. 

The grown heifers were equal in prices as were well covered beef cows but dairy cows lifted 10c/kg and a little more at times. Heavy weight B2 bulls eased 5c and made from 220c to 235c/kg. 

The yarding comprised of 376 grown steers, 243 young cattle and grown heifers, 307 cows and 35 bulls. The bulk of the young cattle sale were C2 and C3 vealers and they sold from 250c to 296c with restockers paying 245c to 285c/kg. Good to very good quality C3 and C4 grown steers made between 250c and 268c with two light weight pens at 273c/kg. 



February 12. Yarding: 16,444. Change: down 544. 

Lambs: 12,444. Change:  down 544. Sheep: 4000.  

Lamb numbers eased, and it was also a plainer yarding that lacked the weight and carcase quality of recent weeks.

The usual buying group attended, however bidding was at lower levels and prices eased by $5 to $20/head.

The heavier lambs were the most affected by the cheaper trend, with light weight types holding their value the best. Prices reached a top of $193 for export lambs estimated at 32kg cwt, and it was the only sale over $190/head. The main runs of heavy crossbred lambs in the 26-30kg range sold from $163 to $184, while the best of the trade weight lambs 22-24kg cwt ranged from $140 to $155/head. These lambs recorded carcase price averages of 570c to 600c/kg cwt, although there was some pens of good weight domestic lambs which saw prices higher than this at times.

However, buyer interest in secondary lambs and odd pens was subdued and there were plainer lambs to processors which sold for less than 560c/kg cwt. Prices for Merino lambs also declined. Light weight lambs held their value the best at $90 to $130 to processors, while some of the bigger lines of well-bred shorn store lambs still made up to $120/head to the paddock.

The sheep sale was erratic. Some solid demand from export processors for heavy mutton helped support prices for the heaviest sheep, with a stand-out line of Merino ewes estimated at 35kg cwt in a $20 skin topping the market at $169/head. Big crossbred ewes sold to $138/head. Bidding for leaner and lighter sheep was at reduced levels and price outcomes varied by $5 to $20/head cheaper.


February 6. Yarding: 3956. Change: up 502. 

Lambs: 3096. Change: up 545.

Sheep: 860. Change: down 43.

Numbers increased slightly as agents yarded 3096 lambs and 860 sheep to total 3956 head, an increase of just over 500 head on the previous week. The usual field of trade and processor buyers were present and active along with a number of restocker orders. Quality was very mixed ranging from some excellent heavy lambs down to store conditioned types which again received strong restocker competition. There were a number of lambs which received a discount from buyers with fleece quality being a factor. The lamb market eased in price while sheep were again strong and in demand. Light weight lambs to the trade sold from $90 to $124 with the light weight trade 2 and 3 score types made from $120 to $132/head. Restockers were active across a number of different categories as they purchased the very light weights from $40 to $75, better conditioned lambs from $108 to $129 and turned a small number of first cross ewe lambs back to the paddock from $132 to $144/head. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $126 to $147 to average 600c to 620c/kg cwt, easing up to $6/head. Heavy lambs were sought after by the buying group as they sold from $150 to $170 with the few extra heavy types from $168 to $175.50/head. Hoggets sold from $104 to $122 with wethers returning vendors from $105 to $124/head. Light weight ewes sold from $44 to $77 with the medium weighted selection selling from $87 to $105/head. Heavy ewes ranged from $105 to $134 with a lift of $7 as rams made from $55 to $83/head.