Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Overview of Cattle and Sheep Markets


  • Restocker yearling steer prices have decreased to 366¢/kg live weight.
  • Heavy lamb prices have dropped to 648¢/kg carcase weight.
  • The total number of sheep and lambs slaughtered has increased to 677,821.

Cattle Market Trends

The cattle market has seen a general decrease across all indicators this week. Total yardings have reduced to 75,856, with a notable decrease in most states, except for Tasmania and Victoria, where yardings remain high. This represents a significant increase from the five-week national average.

Feeder steer prices have fallen to 335¢/kg live weight, with a marked decrease in Queensland and New South Wales, despite these regions still reporting prices above the national average. This decline is attributed to a reduced enthusiasm among buyers.

Restocker yearling steer prices have also seen a decrease, now at 366¢/kg live weight. Queensland’s prices are slightly higher, making up a significant portion of the market. Buyers are becoming more selective, impacting the overall pricing.

Sheep Market Adjustments

The sheep and lamb sectors have experienced a downturn in all price indicators. There has been a substantial reduction in yardings, with sheep yardings down by 22% from the previous week.

Heavy lamb prices have decreased to 648¢/kg carcass weight, with a reduced participation from major buyers contributing to the price drop. Similarly, the trade lamb indicator has fallen to 636¢/kg carcass weight, with buyers showing increased caution and a preference for quality.

Slaughter Figures

Cattle slaughter figures have risen across all states except Western Australia, reaching 122,577 heads for the week ending 9 February 2024. This is an increase from the previous year.

Sheep and lamb slaughter numbers have significantly increased to 677,821 heads, with lamb slaughter accounting for the majority of this figure. This represents a notable increase from the same period in 2023, highlighting a trend towards higher slaughter rates.

This week’s market wrap indicates a general easing in cattle and sheep prices, alongside an increase in slaughter rates, reflecting the current trends and adjustments within the livestock industry.