Cow price increase as US demand ramps up


It was a steady week for the cattle market with slight movements in either direction across the indicators. Feeder Steer and restocker heifers were the only two indicators not building on the week prior. Yardings were up on last week following a recent pullback of supply by producers to protect prices. Slaughter volumes also increased for the week prior as processors cope with elevated levels of supply.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) finished the week trading at 630 c/kg, up 1 c/kg despite an increase in yardings of 11% (1.8k head) on the previous week. Roma, Dalby and Wagga were the top three contributors to the indicator for the week. Roma averaged above the indicator with an average price of 655 c/kg. whereas Dalby and Wagga averaged below at 618 c/kg and 611 c/kg respectively. All three NLRS saleyard reports talk to a full turnout of regular buyers who were all active in the market.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator increased by 2% (10 c/kg) over the week, finishing at 443 c/kg. The slight price increase was helped by a 6% decrease in headcount and much-needed rain falling across the southwest of the state.

Restockers Heifer and Steer indicators went their separate ways, the male steers were up on the prior week by 4% (16 c/kg) to finish the week at 375 c/kg. Whilst the female heifers were down 2% (5 c/kg) on the back of a 44% (1.5k head) increase in yardings.

At the more senior end of the market, the processor cow indicator was up slightly on the previous week. The indicator lifted 3% (8 c/kg) to end the week at 242 c/kg. This is down 9% (23 c/kg) from its peak this time a month ago.

Total yardings for the week were up 6.5% (3.8k head) following the rapid drop in supply from producers the week before. The recent decline in throughput halted the price fall across most indicators earlier in the February. 

Slaughter volumes for the prior week also increased marginally, the total number of slaughter for the nation according to the MLA NRLS is up 3% (3.2k head) on the week before. Maintaining its above five-year average rate it has been doing for the year.

The volume of 90CL beef imported by the United States from Australia continues to increase according to the most recent report released by Steiner Consulting Group. Steiner has increased their projections for the total amount of imported beef from Australia for February from 18,500 MT to just under 21,000 MT. The rise in projection is off the back of increased shipments and an increase in demand as US cattle slaughter rates decline.

Next week

Above median rainfall forecast for the east in the weeks ahead, combined with producers seeming to strike the right balance of supply for the current level of demand should keep prices supported. International demand for Australian beef is driving strong levels of demand from processors, who should keep competing with each other to secure enough supply.

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Data sources: MLA, Steiner, Mecardo

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