Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Overview of Cattle and Sheep Markets

Meteorological Update:

The Bureau of Meteorology has announced the onset of El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole. These meteorological phenomena suggest that the upcoming spring and summer seasons are expected to be warmer and drier than usual, consistent with earlier predictions by the Bureau.

Cattle Market Insights:

The overall trend in cattle indicator prices remained consistent with the previous week, with prices generally declining based on the weight and condition of the animals.

Cattle yardings increased by 1,925 to a total of 46,458 head this week. Notably, yardings decreased in Western Australia by 94 to 1,512 head and in Victoria by 1,157 due to halted sales.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) decreased by 27¢, settling at 397¢/kg carcase weight. The restocker component of the EYCI was slightly weaker, standing 21¢ below the EYCI at 376¢/kg. Restocker demand for yearling heifers decreased by 21¢ over the week to 156¢/kg liveweight.

Sheep Market Insights:

Lamb yards increased by 2,294 to 174,317 head, whereas sheep numbers decreased by 12,028 to 55,529. This resulted in a total yarding of 229,846 head, 9,734 less than the previous week.

Indicator prices for sheep showed mixed trends. The restocker lamb indicator increased by 25¢ over the week to 280¢/kg cwt. 

Notably, restocker purchases of new season lambs at CTLX Calcoar saw a rise of 93¢ to 295¢/kg cwt, and a quality batch at Wagga resulted in a 36¢ increase to 395¢/kg cwt. It’s worth noting that new-season lambs now constitute a significant portion of lamb yardings, with 17,600 new-season lambs making up 30% of the yarding in Wagga.

Sheep Producer Intentions Survey:

The October wave of the Sheep Producer Intentions Survey will commence on October 2nd. This survey provides valuable insights into producer intentions and market dynamics.

Slaughter Data:

Cattle slaughter numbers increased by 963 to 126,585 head, marking the second-highest week of the year. These numbers are now comparable to those observed in mid-2020.

In contrast, sheep and lamb slaughter decreased by 11,131 to 607,187 head. Specifically, sheep slaughter increased by 5,680 to 160,165 head, while lamb slaughter decreased by 16,791 to 447,022 head. Current slaughter rates are consistently above the 2019 weekly average and are approaching the 2017–18 average.

Additional Market Updates:

The Bairnsdale cattle market remained closed on Thursday. In line with current market conditions, the National Livestock Reporting Service reported sheep and lamb sales from $1/head in all their market reports from September 17th.