Weekly cattle, sheep and goat market wrap

Key points:

  • EYCI has eased to 1,013.57c/kg cwt, with mixed quality and downward pressure on prices from restockers and processors.
  • Goats OTH is back up to $9.20/kg, the highest since September 2021.
  • The annual Alice Springs Show Feeder Steer and Heifer Sale took place on Thursday with a good turn-out of northern cattle.
  • Lamb and sheep slaughter is strengthening year-on-year as steady supply continues.

EYCI easing

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has eased 39c week-on-week to 1,013.57c/kg cwt. This is the lowest average price since September 2021 and is due to the mixed quality and variation in the drafts presenting at the saleyards, creating the two-tier pricing experienced over the last few weeks.

Good quality cattle are fetching a strong price whereas some of the plainer types are going for a heavy discount. The wet and wintery conditions from the last few months have not been aiding the quality and finish on the cattle passing through the saleyards.

Restockers and processors can be pickier around quality and what cattle they bid for as supply increases, putting downward pressure on prices with processors bringing their grids back.

This easing in prices has allowed lot feeders and processors to source young cattle under $10, further tightening the premium between feeder and restocker prices recorded recently.

Goats

Goat OTH prices are back up to $9.20 c/kg cwt for June – the highest price since late September 2021.

Alice Springs annual sale

The annual Alice Springs Show Feeder Steer and Heifer Sale went ahead yesterday with yardings of 4,139 head mostly coming from within the Northern Territory. Yearling steers contributed 47% of sales, with the top price for Angus weaner steers under 200kg going for 685c/kg for $1,269/head.

Lambs running hot

Lamb slaughter has not followed seasonal norms this year, strengthening 16% to 412,570 head week-on-week after the short processing week in the southern states. This is a 36% increase on 2020 levels showing the movement of the 2021 flock rebuild and the continued supply of lambs. Most of these numbers are coming out of Victoria and NSW to reach the second highest slaughter rates in the last three years.

Sheep are also above 2020 and 2021 levels at 90,314 head this week. The mutton indicator eased 39c week-on-week with majority of the contribution coming from Griffith who was trading 45c under the national average. Much of this softening in prices is due to the plainer quality moving through the saleyards and the unseasonal increase in supply putting downward pressure on prices.

Cattle slaughter nearly cracked 100,000 head, reaching 99,738 head this week – the highest slaughter rate in 2022 but still 8% under 2021 levels.

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