Meat & Livestock News

Current Trends in Cattle and Sheep Market Influenced by Market Dynamics and Seasonal Changes


  • Recent market analysis shows a slight increase in the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) and a significant rise in the mutton indicator.
  • Seasonal dryness in key sheep-producing areas has led to an influx of lower-quality sheep in markets, affecting prices.
  • Both cattle and sheep markets are experiencing shifts due to supply and demand dynamics, with notable changes in yardings and slaughter rates.

As of 1 March 2024, the Australian cattle and sheep markets have witnessed notable trends influenced by market dynamics and seasonal conditions. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has seen a modest increase, settling at 628 cents per kg carcass weight (cwt), driven primarily by demand in Queensland for well-bred lines. Conversely, the feeder steer indicator has slightly decreased, indicating a stabilisation in the market after recent fluctuations.

The sheep sector presents a mixed picture, with the mutton indicator climbing by 40 cents to 290 cents/kg cwt. This rise comes amidst a surge in sheep and lamb yardings, attributed to drier weather conditions in prominent sheep-rearing regions. These conditions have led to a higher presence of plainer quality sheep in saleyards, impacting market prices.

Slaughter rates have also varied, with cattle slaughter increasing by 3% to 128,347 head for the week ending 23 February 2024. Sheep and lamb slaughter, however, has decreased, aligning with the patterns observed in the previous two years. These fluctuations highlight the ongoing adjustments within the industry to accommodate changing supply and demand, as well as external environmental factors.