Stock agent Bill Steffensen Young cattle prices eased at the Coolabunia Store Sale on February 16.
Stock agent Bill Steffensen Young cattle prices eased at the Coolabunia Store Sale on February 16. Michael Nolan

Big yards and weather push cattle dollars down

THE storms that battered the Burnett last weekend depressed the yarding at the Coolabunia saleyards.

About 700 head of the fat and store cattle were offered over two sales.

Aussie Land and Livestock agent James Bredhauer said the prices were relatively stable.

"We were down a bit on numbers, quite a few cattle got held up in the storms and farmers couldn't get vehicles into a lot places so the they couldn't truck them,” he said.

Most of the interest came from local buyers, with loads going to Bell and other feedlots around the district.

Gordonbrook graziers Dan and Edith Carew sold some of the higher priced pens with their offering of herefords.

"We sold about 100 head altogether, that included cows and calves, and weaners,” Mrs Carew said

Their steers sold for about 280c/kg while the heifers came back at about 260c/kg.

This price is about 60c/kg cheaper than what was returned at the same time last year.

"We knew the price would be down but we're happy with what we got today,” Mrs Carew said.

The couple runs a third generation commercial operation north of Kingaroy.

Most of the cattle will go into feedlots before they make their way to the butcher.

While the price was guaranteed to be down, seasonal pressure meant the Carews had to sell.

"If you don't get out of them at this time of year the season is closing in on you and you've got another lot of calves coming on,” Mrs Carew said.

Stock agent Bill Steffensen said the price held firm on recent sales but was about 10 per cent cheaper on the year-to-date figures.

"The feeder steers sold to a fully firm market,” he said.

"The market has eased a bit but with that rain around it did approve the price on recent sales

"The export market has improve a little bit with the recent rain.

"If we could keep getting good rain I can see that remaining firm, but it's all very weather dependant.”

Further afield, where the rain didn't fall, young cattle prices continue to fall, weighed down by an over supply in the yarding across Queensland.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator has dropped about 115c/kg in the past twelve months to 524.5c/kg.

Beef market analyst Angus Brown said young cattle yardings hit an eight month high with about 22,210 head sold in Queensland and New South Wales.

"The major culprits causing the higher yarding were the EYCI's biggest yards,” he said.

"The Roma store sale had 284 per cent more cattle yarded, Dalby was up 50 per cent, Wagga 41 per cent and Dubbo 52 per cent.

"These four yards contributed 50 per cent of the EYCI cattle this week, and all except Dubbo saw price falls.

"Roma was the biggest, losing 39c/kg as its premium fell to just 4c over the general EYCI.”

With the big yards returning low prices it's no wonder the ECYI dived.

"The downward trend in prices is a little concerning, but it tends to reflect the lack of rain over a lot of NSW and Queensland cattle country,” Mr Brown said.

South Burnett

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