Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Cattle and Sheep Market Overview – 29 September 2023

Key Highlights

  • Victorian lamb slaughter reaches an all-time high.
  • A decline in cattle prices is observed.
  • Mixed trends seen in lamb and sheep markets.

Cattle Insights

This week saw an increase in yardings of 5,750, bringing the total to 50,608 head. Most mainland states experienced this rise, except South Australia. Notably, the Leongatha sale yard reported a significant drop from 1,330 head in the previous week to 350. 

Saleyard cattle prices showed a downward trend, with the feeder steer indicator dropping by 13¢ to 222¢/kg liveweight (lwt). This was attributed to the presentation of plainer cattle at several sales and a subdued demand from feedlot buyers. 

Other indicators followed a similar pattern, with the restocker yearling heifer indicator decreasing by 10¢ to 145¢/kg lwt and the dairy cow indicator dropping 32¢/kg to 106¢/kg lwt.

Sheep Overview

The total yardings for lamb and sheep increased by 26,954, totalling 256,800 head. This rise was due to the inclusion of fortnightly sales that were absent the previous week. Lamb and sheep indicators presented mixed results. 

The mutton indicator briefly went below 100¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) but rebounded to 106¢/kg cwt after a robust sale at Wagga. In contrast, the light lamb indicator decreased by 25¢ over the week, settling at 277¢/kg cwt. 

Over the past month, there has been a noticeable divergence in prices among indicators. While heavy and trade lambs remained stable, the Merino lamb and mutton indicators saw significant drops, with the former decreasing by 61¢ and the latter by 83¢, marking a 43% decline in its monthly value.

Slaughter Data

For the week ending 22nd September 2023, there was a slight increase in weekly slaughter numbers, up by 750 to 127,335 head. This was due to significant rises in NSW and South 

Australia, which offset the declining numbers in Queensland. Sheep slaughter decreased by 1,673 to 160,165 head. However, lamb slaughter surged by 28,075 to 447,022 head, the highest since 2016. This surge was primarily driven by a rise in Victorian slaughter numbers, which reached a record 229,037 head.

Upcoming Market Updates

The Sheep Producer Intention Survey is set to launch on 2nd October. Additionally, due to public holidays in various states, some sales might not be reported, potentially affecting indicator performance.