2018 livestock market preview

REGULAR SELLER: Neville Dowling at the Toowoomba sales yard on Monday, he sold heifers for 308c.
REGULAR SELLER: Neville Dowling at the Toowoomba sales yard on Monday, he sold heifers for 308c. Cassandra Glover

THE livestock market is opening up again for 2018, with the climate and the strong Aussie dollar dictating how it stabilises.

The hot, dry weather being experienced across the eastern states is seeing some cattle markets open up slightly softer than at the end of 2017, with cattle numbers being low.

"Our cattle numbers are still low in Queensland,” Carl Warren from TopX in Roma said.

"Which is a positive but also makes our market slightly volatile.

"If we get good rain, we'll see the market do a complete 180 and strengthen overnight.”

Darren Hartwig, from Elders in Toowoomba said their first sale saw a yarding of 300 while the second sale on Monday saw 660.

"The bullocks made up to 278c, the cows made to $2.15, and then we had a good run of trade in our young cattle, the best of our trade cattle sold at 322c and the best of our restocker steers sold at $3.80.

"The market will depend a lot on the rain, if we get good rainfall across a good area, it will probably improve a little bit, if it doesn't rain it will probably get easier.”

Neville Dowling was selling at the first sale in Toowoomba.

He sold 400kg heifers for 308c and heavy steers, weighing in at 420kgs for 294c.

Allan Ramsey, from Ramsey and Bulmer in Casino, said the seasonal rain from the end of summer to early autumn would strongly influence how the restocker market behaves.

"It's still at the stage where everybody's trying to feel their way and in the next couple of weeks, depending on the weather again, whether the market holds or continues to drop off a little bit,” Mr Ramsey said.

There have been two weekly sales in Casino so far this year.

Mr Ramsey said the yarding was 900 the first week and 1300 the second week.

"Our selling season starts at the end of January to early February and we'll expect yardings of up to 2000 from early February on,” he said.

In Grafton, David Farrell of Farrell and McCrohon, said the market had opened up a bit easier than last year, by 10-15c per kilo, with prices still hovering around the $3 mark.

The first yarding featured just under 300 head of cattle.

"We had a 100 per cent clearance. There were no bullocks to quote, the cows were 224c and the vealers about $3.10. The restockers have been very strong,” Mr Farrell said.

"We've gotta play it week by week, but hopefully there will be a run of consistency in the market so everyone knows where they're heading.”

Opinions were the same in Warwick, with the weather controlling how the restocker market stabilises.

"If people have got green grass in the paddock they like to put stock on it, but if they haven't got grass they're not restockers,” said George McVeigh from TopX in Warwick.

"They become destockers not restockers, which is sometimes good. That'll put pressure on the market.”

The Aussie dollar has been sitting higher, currently at 79 US cents, which is affecting the export market.

"We always want a lower dollar. With the manufacturers and fellows who want to send it overseas the lower dollar is always better,” Mr McVeigh said.

Mr McVeigh is predicting the sheep market will stay fairly strong for the year with the current good wool prices. The weather will also play a part in how the market turns out.

"On the back of good wool prices everything looks to be fairly positive for 2018,” he said.

"The first sale was a big sale, but predominantly it's going to run along at the average sale size.

"Dry times see more lambs go through the market and then you get a good time and people hold onto the lambs, so numbers become a bit tight. The weather determines how many numbers we get through the yard.”

Topics:  cattle farming livestock markets sheep

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