Meat & Livestock News

Weekly Update on Australian Cattle and Sheep Markets

Rainfall Boosts Southern Australia

Last week, southern Australia experienced significant rainfall, with some regions in Victoria and New South Wales receiving more precipitation than they did in the entire month of September.

In contrast, southeast Queensland, South Australia, and southwest Western Australia also received some rain, breaking the trend of a relatively dry winter.

Cattle Market Trends

The cattle market faced disruptions this week due to the public holiday on Monday, leading to fewer sales. Consequently, cattle yardings plummeted by nearly two-thirds from the previous week, standing at 27,396 head.

Indicator prices showed mixed trends; the feeder steer indicator dropped by 4¢ to 218¢/kg liveweight, while the heavy steer indicator rose by 22¢ to 231¢/kg liveweight. The decline in the number of sales impacted the composition of these indicators.

Sheep and Lamb Market Overview

Similar to the cattle market, the sheep and lamb markets were affected by public holidays, resulting in reduced yardings. Lamb yardings decreased by 82,192 to 120,646 head, and sheep yardings fell by 17,869 to 168,685 head. Indicator prices for both categories saw significant increases.

The trade lamb indicator surged by 45¢ to 478¢/kg carcase weight, and the mutton indicator jumped by 65¢ to 170¢/kg carcase weight. Notably, the mutton indicator experienced a record 64% increase over the week.

Slaughter Rates

Public holidays also influenced slaughter rates, which were lower than the previous weeks. Cattle slaughter declined by 3,228 to 124,875 head, with the most significant drop in New South Wales.

On the other hand, combined sheep and lamb slaughter fell by 55,603 to 577,986 head, with the largest decrease observed in Victoria.

Export Performance

In September, Australian red meat exports totalled 168,579 tonnes, a slight decrease from August but a 35% year-on-year increase. Beef exports rose by 40% to 98,712 tonnes, with the United States emerging as the largest market.

Lamb and mutton exports also saw significant growth, particularly to China, Australia’s largest export market for these products.

Sheep Producer Intentions Survey

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has launched its October Sheep Producer Intentions Survey to gather crucial data on the 2023 lamb crop. The survey aims to capture information on producer sentiment, lamb flock size, marking rates, and expected sales channels.

MLA encourages participation, offering benchmarking results for producers, which will contribute to more accurate industry forecasts.