Beef 2024 excitement spills over into bidding

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All eyes are on beef this week with over 100,000 people descending on Rockhampton for the triennial Beef Week. Buyers leaned into the momentum with multiple reports from major saleyards talking to increased activity and competition, which helped support prices. Supply was down on the week prior, but still above the average.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator was flat week on week closing at 605 c/kg. Headcount for the indicator was down 17% (3k head) to a total of 14.3k head. Roma, Dalby, and Wagga were the top three largest contributors regarding volume, and each of the three sale yards averaged within 2c/kg of the indicator. All 3 saleyard reports talk to a full level of participation from a full field of buyers.

Restocker Heifers closed the week at 257 c/kg a rise of 5% (12 c/kg). The price rise was supply-driven as yardings for the indicator fell by 49%. The male counterparts were flat week on week finishing where it started at 330 c/kg, its yardings fell by 42%. The heifers closed the price discount to the steers this week from 26% to 22% off the back of the price rise.

The Heavy Steer Indicator rose 5% (15 c/kg) to end the week at 307 c/kg, back above the 300c/kg mark as well as being the only indicator to be at a higher price than this time last year. Compared to this time last year the price for the indicator is up 2% and the supply for the indicator is up 46%.   

Australian beef exports continue to operate at high levels compared to last year with the total volume up 46% for April compared to April 2023. The United States continue to demand more of Australian beef with the Steiner Consulting Group reporting that the volume to the United States has increased by 117% for the month of April year on year.

Initial yardings data from the NRLS for the week show that volume was back on the week prior by 15%. Yardings for the year have been at elevated levels and whilst this is continuing, they are beginning to return closer to the 5-year average.  Slaughter levels for the week prior are also still operating at above average levels, with the total number of east coast slaughter for the week before totalling 134.2k head.

The week ahead….

Producers will be hoping the demand from buyers continues into next week as we approach winter. Supply also seems to be slowing slightly from recent highs, which should also contribute to supporting prices especially if the forecasted rain by the BOM does eventuate.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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