Analyst Intel

23 October 2020

ACROSS THE RAILS | Steers find success in Canterbury

Throughputs at sale yards have been as changeable as the weather recently, with catalogues shrinking throughout the week.

The Temuka sale yards saw a significant drop in store cattle numbers booked this week, as what was going to be a two-day sale reduced to a one-day event. In the end, 1678 cattle made it to the yards. 

The reason for the reduction in numbers was mainly linked to an uneasy market. PGG Wrightson regional livestock manager Joe Higgins indicated that would-be vendors either offloaded their cattle in private paddock sales to avoid price uncertainty, or took the option of live exporting. Not all live export shipments have received permits to operate, but at $3.30/kg for 260-360kg heifers, companies are offering a competitive rate. 

Majority of the cattle offered at Temuka were yearlings, with a fairly even split between steers and heifers. This is on theme for Canterbury this week, as a single vendor sold 1029 yearlings through the Canterbury Park Saleyards the day prior. Last week, this influx of yearlings on the market was causing some anxiety as to whether demand could meet supply. However, any nay-sayers would have been pleasantly surprised by the strong bidding at Canterbury Park. 

Cattle were competed for in the rostrum and online, as bidr® users came away with 33% of the catalogue. Yearling heifers averaged $2.53/kg, while Hereford steers averaged $2.70/kg and Angus made a premium at $2.89/kg. 

It got better for steers at Temuka, as the reduced offering matched demand well. A wide range of weights meant there were options for all, and a traditional steer made a strong average of $2.95/kg.

Higgins reported both vendor and agent expectations were exceeded by these prices, but heifers were more of a struggle in spots and could not reach the benchmark set at Canterbury Park, as traditional options averaged $2.42/kg. 

However, it should be noted that there were some lighter weights and more variance in quality in the Temuka heifers, which is to be expected at a mixed vendor sale.

Sarah Friel