Cattle prices waiting on break

For the week ending Tuesday, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) improved 10¢ on the week prior, to average 488¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), back 1% on year-ago levels.

Overall, conditions remain extremely poor across the nation’s cattle production regions. In terms of supply, young cattle in varying condition and cows continue to be yarded in strong numbers across saleyards.

Prices across most categories have been relatively stable, with store condition cattle under pressure from limited restocker competition. Good condition cows and finished steers have found sustained demand from processors.


In the eastern states, trade and feeder steers saw improvements on last week, with trade steers gaining 6¢ to average 287¢/kg live weight (lwt), up 4¢ year-on-year. Feeder steers averaged 286¢/kg lwt, an increase of 7¢ from last week and up 2¢ on last year.

Heavy steers eased slightly, to average 289¢/kg lwt, an improvement of 6¢ year-on-year. Heavy steers continue to demand premium prices relative to their lighter counterparts, with poor pasture and high feed costs limiting supply levels.

The medium cow indicator averaged 186¢/kg lwt on Tuesday, back 2¢ from last week but up 11¢ from this time last year. Strong export demand continues to support cows in good condition despite relatively strong supply.


Eastern states weekly slaughter totalled 143,000 head last week, back 8% from the previous week. While the Queen’s birthday public holiday slowed slaughter in some states, numbers remained 7% higher than year-ago levels, with ongoing drought conditions the main driver.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2019

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