Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Cattle and Sheep Market Update: A Comprehensive Overview

A selective focus shot of a bunch of domestic sheep

In the past week, the cattle and sheep markets in Australia have experienced notable shifts, influenced by varying climatic conditions and market dynamics.

Cattle Market Trends:

Recent widespread rainfall across eastern and central Australia positively impacted cattle demand, leading to a general increase in prices.

Notably, yarding decreased significantly by 10,842 to 35,357 head, attributed mainly to the wet conditions that reduced sale yard turnout. In Queensland, yardings dropped by 5,947 to 6,198 head, as sales in Charters Towers did not run, and Dalby, Roma, and Warwick reported smaller sales compared to the previous week.

A remarkable trend was observed in lighter, younger cattle categories, which saw more substantial price increases than average. The restocker yearling heifer category experienced the most significant rise, increasing by 38¢ to 239¢/kg live weight (lwt).

In Queensland, the indicator throughput decreased by 987 to 445 head, while the indicator price surged by 44¢ to 254¢/kg lwt. Other states, while maintaining similar numbers to the previous week, also reported considerable price increases.

Contrastingly, cattle prices in Western Australia remained more subdued compared to the east coast, due to the absence of wet conditions.

The western young cattle indicator (WYCI) remained stable at 389¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), while the eastern young cattle indicator (EYCI) increased by 43¢ to 486¢/kg cwt. This marks a reversal of the usual trend observed this year, where WYCI typically maintained a modest premium.

Sheep and Lamb Market Developments:

The sheep and lamb markets also saw price increases, particularly among restockers and lighter lambs. Overall yardings remained steady, consistent with the trend over the last four weeks. Lamb yardings rose by 16,134 to 239,856 head, while sheep yardings slightly decreased by 7,729 to 79,792 head.

The heavy lamb indicator rose modestly by 3¢ to 502¢/kg cwt. In New South Wales, lower numbers of heavy lambs coupled with consistent demand led to a price increase of 26¢ to 536¢/kg cwt. In Victoria, prices remained stable at 508p/kg cwt, as numbers were consistent with the previous week.

The light lamb indicator experienced a notable increase of 38¢ to 407¢/kg cwt. At Wagga, where the yarding comprised entirely new season lambs, light lamb prices increased by 47¢ to 459¢/kg cwt. In Hamilton, competitive bidding from restockers and feeders drove prices up by 54¢ from last week to 428¢/kg cwt.

Beef Producer Intentions Survey:

Currently, the November beef producer intentions survey is underway. This survey, focusing on grass-fed cattle producers, aims to gather valuable data on herd demographics, sentiment insights, and producers’ intentions for the upcoming 12 months.

Participants in the survey will have the option to receive a benchmarking scorecard, comparing their performance against similar producers in their state and of a similar herd size.