TIGHT young cattle supply and graziers buying in cattle for flourishing pastures right across NSW have forced the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator to a new record of 1033 cents a kilogram (carcase weight).
As some graziers opt to take the money now for cattle they would normally turn off at heavier weights, others are buying back in at the hefty prices to take advantage of the abundant pasture growth to finish cattle as we head into the warmer months.
H Francis and Company agent Alex Croker, Wagga Wagga, said the market was being driven by the restocker and feeder type cattle, rather than the finished yearlings.
"The finished cattle are still tight in supply and I estimate the prices for those are firm, whereas the unfinished lines are where the market was dearer this week," he said.
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"People who have sold finished cattle in the past month or so at $2700 to $2800 a head are now looking to buy back in to take advantage of the coming warmer weather and good pasture growth.
"They are able to buy in a 300kg steer for $1800 to $2000 and that means there's still a margin there for them."
Mr Croker said some processors were also moving into the saleyards to get the finished stock they needed, rather than relying on direct to works sales.
"Nobody really knows where the market's headed and everyone is taking a different approach to the higher prices," he said.
"I guess the fact that some graziers are buying in, while others are taking the good money now, is keeping the whole market dynamics very interesting."
Ian Morgan Livestock agent Ben Goodman, Tamworth, said restockers and a "grass market" were driving the prices for young cattle in the north of the state.
"We've also noticed some of the feedlots that haven't really been very active in the saleyards for many years coming back in to get the cattle they need," he said.
"That's providing greater competition for our clients' cattle at the saleyards, which is really good for them."
He said the quality and condition of the cattle had also been of a high standard.
"The stock are really healthy and that means the processors have the option of either sending them straight to slaughter or feeding them on to get a bit more weight on them," he said.
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