It was another tough week for the national cattle market online as declining producer confidence and winter doldrums kept prices heading south for most categories.
There was a total of 10,634 head offered through the AuctionsPlus commercial cattle sales last week, down 14 per cent on the previous week.
In the eastern states sale last Friday, which includes Queensland and NSW vendors, there were 157 lots assessed for sale, representing 2758 head of cattle.
Of that, 35 lots were from Queensland producers which resulted in 10 lots selling, 16 lots passed-in and nine lots attracting no bids.
AuctionPlus market analyst Tim McRae said there had been several reports of vendors staying out of the market and delaying sales until conditions are stronger, or at least spring growth returns.
"Last week the EYCI dipped below 900c/kg and it would be both concerning for those that had done their sums on recent values with sales looming, but also those that purchased in the first half of the year," Mr McRae said.
"Indeed, leaning over the gate looking at cattle which are now far lower in value than the purchase price earlier in the year is never a great feeling."
He said there were two main drivers behind the recent decline.
"There is a lack of sunshine and warmth and a lack of confidence, underpinned by very significant animal health and disease risks," Mr McRae said.
"The attention, and rightfully so, given by the livestock industry regarding the increased FMD risk in recent months has been proportional to the industry devastation that could be caused.
"However, it must be stated, that Australia is still holding all the trade and market access benefits it held prior to the spread of the disease through Indonesia.
"All the key market fundamentals that the red meat industry was touting prior to the escalation of the disease risk remain unchanged."
AuctionsPlus level one assessor for Elders, Bob Jakins, agreed.
Mr Jakins said at the moment cattle were plentiful, but winter was in full swing and pasture was not looking good at this time of the year.
He said there certainly was diminished confidence in the market place and a lot of innuendo surrounding the current foot and mouth situated on our near doorstep in Indonesia.
"Some producers are holding back in the event of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, as they don't want to buy cattle, and then have to destroy them should an outbreak occur," he said.
"It is also a hard market to price cattle when there is diminished confidence on a falling market."
Making some good money on AuctionsPlus last Friday were a line of 32 PTIC Angus heifers selling for 307.6c/kg to return $2450/head on behalf of Cowarrie Partnership, Southbrook.
Bim and Fiona Goodrich, Warroo Partnership, Inglewood offloaded a line of 56 Red Angus PTIC cows aged approximately 10 years that sold for $1560/head, which was way above the vendor's reserve.
Warroo Partnership also offered a line of medium framed Red Angus cows aged between four and seven years that sold for 255.4c/kg to return $1210/head.
Mr Jakins said market confidence was difficult to equate for the months ahead.
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