With the nation stopping yesterday to commemorate ANZAC Day, Thursday livestock sales did not take place. As a result, this week saw a decrease in activity with yardings down and many saleyard reports talking about a lack of participation and presence from buyers, particularly export buyers.

Prices for the indicators were down slightly across the board despite significant drops in yardings for the week. Major saleyard reports mention export buyers present and not active, or not present at all.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) was down 2% on the week prior and it finished the week at 584 c/kg. Yardings for the indicator were down 40% on the week prior, due to some sales not occurring yesterday and showers in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland caused some producers to hold onto cattle.  Roma was the largest contributor to the indicator with just under 40% of the total headcount moving through its sale yards. It averaged 4% above the indicator at 605 c/kg.

Both restocker heifers and steers indicators fell by 2%, heifers closed the week at 243 c/kg and the steers at 331c/kg. The discount for the females is 27% the same as it was the week prior. Roma was the biggest contributor to both of the indicators and averaged 6% above the indicator for both.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator had only one of the two saleyards that make up the indicator operating this week. Muchea averaged 415 c/kg for the 370 head that were sold there. Young cattle in WA are selling at a discount of 29% compared to eastern state equivalent cattle. Unfortunately for cattle farmers in the West, the prices haven’t seen a recovery like that of the East in recent months.

The total number of cattle to move through saleyards around the nation was 39k head, back 60% on last week, which saw a surge as people knew this week would be a less active market. For 2024, the average increase in yardings on the 5-year average for each sale week is 47%. A huge increase in the supply coming from paddocks that hasn’t been seen since 2015.

Slaughter volume for the week prior on the East Coast were up 2% on the week before. 2024 slaughter levels also remain elevated on the medium-term average, but not to the same levels as yardings. Slaughter volumes week on week are 8% above that of the 5-year average. 

Next week

The resumption of a full selling week should see the supply increase, this will put downward pressure on prices as buyers will have more options. Hopefully, for producers this is countered by buyers returning to full participation in the market.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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