Cattle mob in a green paddock

This week there were a couple of ups and downs in price across cattle types as the market continues to operate in a more stable manner. Saleyard throughput was up week on week, with clear skies squeezing more cattle onto the market. However, competition remains steady with strong support from the export market.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator softened by 1% (6 c/kg) to 618 c/kg for the second last selling week of May. Young cattle throughput lifted 15% on the week prior, to a total of 20.5k head. Roma had the largest contribution to the indicator at a whopping 37%. The Roma saleyard report noted cattle came from four states and territories. Restocker buyers were the more dominant buying group overtaking lot feeders from the week before.

The Dairy Cow Indicator had the largest decrease week on week, falling 15% (27c/kg) to an average of 156c/kg. Headcount increased 11% for the week, which would have put downward pressure on prices. Leongatha had the largest contribution to the indicator and its saleyard report said that despite a full turnout from the usual buying group, not all were active.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) jumped up 11% (50c/kg) to 488c/kg, after a stable month at 450c/kg mark. Yarding dropped from the week prior by 26% to a total of 746 head. Unlike its eastern counterpart young cattle prices in the west didn’t rebound from the price drop that occurred last year (as shown in figure 1). Muchea saleyard report talks of fresh restocker faces at the rail, perhaps on the promise of the weather forecast which is good sign for things to come.

Slaughter levels for the week ending the 17th of May increased 7% on the week before. This is 16% above the amount for the same week last year and the five-year average. High slaughter levels are expected to remain with strong demand from overseas buyers putting pressure on the supply chain to keep pace.

Beef shipments to the US for the month of May are expected to reach about 30k MT according to the Steiner Consulting Group. This will be a 67% increase year on year and well above the five-year average. This comes as US cattle buyers try to make up the shortfall between supply and demand. May slaughter figures are expected to be down 15% year on year in the US which is where Australian beef is being used to make up the gap between supply and demand. 

Next week

The forecast is currently showing 5-10mm across the southern parts of the nation. While not much, anything will help for the producers who have been experiencing drier than normal conditions this year. If the rain turns out to be useful, expect supply to slow in parts of the south and west as producers will be more optimistic about feed outlook for winter. 

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Data sources: MLA, Steiner, BOM, Mecardo

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