A tipping point in the supply and demand balance has re-arranged cattle, sheep and lamb prices over the past two weeks.
Scattered thunderstorms across central and northern NSW has cut supplies and forced northern processors, feedlot operators and restockers to focus on a small Victorian pool to source their stock requirements.
The Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange (NVLX), Barnawartha, cattle sale last week was an excellent example. Buying orders from as far north as Armidale in the New England, along with returned buying from Bathurst in the Central Tablelands area were prominent players in its Thursday store market.
The northern support focused on steers to turn out, boosting prices by at least $120 a head.
However one day earlier, additional pressure was also applied to the NVLX cow market when a full field of northern buyers dominated, boosting prices by 10-15c/kg liveweight.
A flow on effect from this northern pressure had immediate impact on cow and calves sold within the NVLX store market.
Prices in the department were $200 to $300 higher compared to the sale two weeks ago, however on this account local graziers were keenest after follow-up rains between the two store markets.
The interstate buying missed the inaugural Central Victoria Livestock Exchange (CVLX), Ballarat, store sale conducted at its new home at Miners Rest.
Nonetheless, southern-based feeders and processors along with South Gippsland, Western District and South Australian finishers and backgrounders, reeling from the northern activity, sharpened their pencils in a market seen as $100- $150 a head better than its previous sale held one month earlier.
Over the past month the flow of stock spilling from the north has slowed considerably with the likes of Dubbo, NSW, dropping its numbers to less than 2000 head after months of large 5000 to 7000 head yardings.
And Wagga Wagga, NSW, backed its numbers off last week to 3700 but understandably this week with the huge kick in prices, numbers were again back to 5000 head.
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reported on Monday that Wagga had a bigger group of buyers, with the strongest bidding coming from northern processors, feedlotters and restockers.
Southern buyers were unable to match the buying power from Queensland and northern NSW, MLA said.
Cattle markets are isolated to this northern power buying that has descended on Victorian livestock outlets.
An entourage of northern sheep and lamb buyers are headed this way and prices have kicked accordingly in central and south-west Victorian markets where the majority of the state’s sheepmeat stock will soon be cleared.