Meat & Livestock News

Recent Southern Rainfall Offers Glimmer of Hope to Australian Cattle and Sheep Markets


Recent rainfall in southern Australia has provided a much-needed boost to the cattle and sheep markets, although experts caution that more is needed to significantly impact market dynamics. The rain has been a welcome respite, especially after a dry 2023 and heatwave conditions that have led to some low-cost sales in recent weeks.

Market Indicators

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator opened at 363.18c/kg carcase weight, an increase of about 11c from the start of the week. However, this uptick is primarily attributed to some Victorian saleyards. Market analysts are keenly awaiting next week’s sales in New South Wales (NSW) to assess the rain’s impact on the market.

Expert Opinions

Daniel McCullough, principal at Tamworth-based McCullough Agencies, stated that while the rain serves as a reminder that it can rain, it’s unlikely to significantly boost market confidence. He noted that many areas received between 5 to 20mm of rain, which is a good start but far from sufficient to turn the season around.

Wyatt Wrigley, Eastern Rural livestock manager, echoed McCullough’s sentiments, stating that more rain is needed to instill confidence back into the market, particularly for light restocker cattle. He mentioned that feedlot space is currently hard to find, and there is a lack of agistment.

Sheep Market Trends

The mutton indicator has seen a significant week-on-week rise of 67c. Stephen Bignell, MLA’s market information manager, said that the mutton indicator rose to 67 cents, marking the largest week-on-week percentage and nominal lift since 2000. The lamb indicators also showed positive trends, albeit not as significant as mutton.

Future Outlook

Both McCullough and Wrigley agree that if there is follow-up rain in the coming weeks, it could kickstart the tropical grasses for the summer and potentially tighten the market quickly. However, many people are still well below their average rainfall this year, indicating that the situation remains precarious.