Meat & Livestock News

Analysis of Restocker Market: Trends in Steer and Heifer Price Premiums

In the cattle market, the price premium between Restocker Yearling Steer and Restocker Yearling Heifer Indicators is a well-known and established phenomenon. This premium, which reflects the natural cattle cycle, serves as a key barometer of market confidence and restocker demand.

Throughout 2022, the cattle market witnessed a price differential ranging from 10-20%. This period saw a robust market, bolstered by favourable weather conditions, leading to an uptick in prices across all cattle indicators.

Notably, the Restocker Steer Indicator consistently outpaced the heifer market. When the margin between the two was minimal, it indicated a trend of restockers leaning towards heifers, a response to the soaring cattle prices.

The 2023 cattle market presented a contrasting scenario. Following a strong wet season in 2022, producers braced for less favourable weather due to El Nino, anticipating a dampening effect on prices. 

October 2023 marked the lowest point in the market, with a significant 30% premium between restocker steer and heifer prices. This substantial gap underscored the challenges within the cattle market, particularly highlighting the continued preference for steers due to their higher sale value compared to heifers.

As 2024 commenced, the market showed positive signs, with the steer premium reducing to 18% by the end of January. This suggests a healthy restocker market for both steers and heifers, pointing towards a promising outlook for the year.