Meat & Livestock News

Australian Cattle and Sheep Market: Weekly Update

The Australian cattle and sheep markets have shown varied trends in the past week, with notable changes in prices, yardings, and slaughter rates. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in these sectors.

Cattle Market Trends

Cattle prices have seen an upward trend this week, particularly for feeder and restocker cattle. Total yardings increased by 10,578 to 45,061 head, slightly above the five-week average of 44,677.

The restocker yearling steer indicator rose by 41¢ to 280¢/kg live weight (lwt), with the most significant price increase observed in New South Wales (NSW) at 46¢ to 271¢/kg lwt. The feeder steer indicator also saw an increase of 21¢ to 238¢/kg lwt, with Queensland prices rising by 27¢ to 226¢/kg lwt. This increase in prices is attributed to consistent rainfall, which has bolstered market interest, particularly in yearling steers from feedlots.

Sheep and Lamb Market Dynamics

The sheep and lamb market experienced mixed results this week. While some sales saw considerable price increases, others witnessed a substantial easing.

Overall, total yardings decreased by 15,864 head, primarily due to a drop in lamb yardings of 21,453 head, while sheep yardings remained relatively stable.

The heavy lamb indicator rose by 13¢ from the previous week, ending at 499¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). In NSW, the indicator increased by 39¢ to 510¢/kg cwt, largely driven by strong sales at Wagga. In contrast, in Victoria, the indicator remained steady at 507¢/kg cwt, despite significant price volatility in individual saleyards.

The National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) notes that well-finished lambs, regardless of age, continue to hold firmer prices due to varied quality at sale yards.

Slaughter Rate Changes

For the week ending 10 November 2023, cattle slaughter fell by 8,744 to 122,744 head. This decline was observed in all states except South Australia, which saw a small increase of 538 head. Victoria recorded the largest decline in slaughter by 2,895 head, closely followed by Queensland with a decrease of 2,623 head.

Lamb slaughter decreased by 22,235 head, and sheep slaughter fell by 16,832 head. The most significant decline in lamb slaughter was in Western Australia, with a decrease of 30,613 head.

NSW was the only state to record an increase in lamb slaughter, with numbers rising by 20,834 to 122,152 head. Sheep slaughter fell by 16,832 to 160,713 head, declining in all states except Queensland and Tasmania, which each recorded small increases.

Market News and Resources

The NLRS has introduced two new indicators based on online transaction data, providing additional insights into market trends. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has also released its quarterly slaughter and production statistics.