Single cattle close shot of head

A quick glance at what’s in the red and what’s not in the price and supply table tells you all you need to know about how the cattle market fared this week. Supply was up and all the major indicators fell by 13¢/kg or more.

The one silver lining perhaps is the resilience of the 90CL (the US imported lean beef price) which seems to be holding up okay despite the significantly higher volumes headed into that market from Australia compared to this time last year, helped no doubt by a lower Aussie dollar.

Despite there not being an overly high number of heavy steers eligible for the national indicator (1552 head) that price probably felt the most pain, losing more than 40¢/kg for the week and now having fallen more than 50% in the past month. There was no significant volume of heavy lots in any one spot, despite overall cattle yardings lifting by 26% across the country week-on-week. Yardings this week were also nearly 20% above the five-year average for the corresponding week. Last week’s slaughter figures were more than 60% higher year-on-year but only lifted by less than 1000 head for the week.

In the other steer categories, feeder steers lost 13¢/kg for the week, to finish at 221.50¢/kg. This still represents a drop of about 55¢/kg for the past four weeks. More than a quarter of the feeders eligible for the indicator went through Wagga Wagga, NSW, and the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted feedlot buying support as “relatively weak” across the states, and the cattle of plainer quality.

The Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator looks to have picked up much of the increased yarding, and in turn lost 40¢/kg for the week, to sit at 357¢/kg. Wagga Wagga, Dalby, Qld, and Roma store, Qld, had nearly half the EYCI throughput.

The national cow price lost 23¢/kg for the week and again was more than 50¢/kg down for the month, closing the week at just 145¢/kg. As mentioned, the 90CL price has shown some resilience, sitting at AUD844¢/kg up about 15¢/kg for the week, despite beef volumes to the US from Australia being nearly 180% higher year-on-year for September.  

A variety of public holidays this week and next could influence throughput and price performance next week, as could some forecast rain in some areas. Aside from that, there is little to indicate much change in the market dynamics in the short term. And if a widespread rainfall doesn’t eventuate in the next couple of weeks, pressure will likely be downward.

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Click on graph to expand

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Data sources: Meat and Livestock Australia; Argus Meat & Livestock; AuctionsPlus, Mecardo

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