Cattle,Herd,Australia,,Hereford,Cattle,In,Lush,Grass,In,Nsw.

Cattle price boards were a welcome shade of green as the market saw minor price recoveries across multiple specifications. Support for the cattle market this week came from reduced supply to the yards and indications that slaughter volumes are remaining solid. On the downside, Brazil’s strengthening relationship with China may pose some stiffer competition for Australian products in the future.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) halted its downward run and closed the week up 11¢ (2%) to reach 669¢/kg cwt. The usual suspects Roma, Dalby & Dubbo contributed to 55% of the index’s volume, with steers trading at 770¢/kg cwt, 755¢/kg and 695¢/kg respectively, while further south in Wagga, steers moved at 723¢/kg. Rain in southern Queensland and parts of NSW may have provided producers with additional confidence in medium-term pastoral conditions.  A pullback on young cattle yardings this week was evident in response as EYCI eligible yardings fell 19% this week down to 12,506 head.

The April and May period has historically seen a lower yarding of cattle. If the pattern holds, reduced downward pressure on prices may lend some temporary stability to the market, until more confidence in the El Niño and pastoral situation emerges.

A significant improvement in Chinese perceptions of Brazilian food safety, and Brazilian access to the Chinese marketplace poses a credible threat to the value of trade between Australia and China. As such, any outcomes that emanate from future meetings between the two countries are worthy of close attention by the Australian industry.

In the Dubbo area this week there was relatively stable pricing for feeder steers, mainly due to the lower supply this week.  Reports from Argus on feedlot forward grain purchases indicated feedlot demand is unlikely to fall and may support prices in future weeks.  

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) fell 61¢ (8%) down to 668¢/kg cwt, with steer prices falling 69¢ (10%) week on week to close at 655¢/kg. Despite an increase in the vealer percentage within the index to 78%, which normally supports the index, prices still fell.

Total east coast preliminary yardings fell 8% this week, to 39,527 head, with the drop in supply providing support to prices across multiple categories. The drop in supply was led by NSW, which saw a 24% week-on-week fall, partially offset by a 10% increase in QLD supply.  

The national indicators were lit up with some welcome price increases of 2% for both feeder steers and processor cows, which closed at 353¢/kg and 256¢/kg respectively. Restocker steers took the wooden spoon, however, booking a 3% drop, down to 394¢/kg.

The US frozen cow 90CL price has continued to track upwards, increasing 4¢ (<1%) to reach 849¢/kg; pushed along by a native increase of US1.5¢(<1%) price increase in US dollar terms to 257.5¢/lb. Steiner reports that lean beef supply is tight at present and that the latest February data on inventories of boneless beef indicate a 22% fall, pointing toward a steep drawdown in recent times. This highlights the impact of lower US slaughter and production on the marketplace. While falling prices for pork and chicken in the US may suggest a weakening in US food service demand, with spring well advanced already, and days getting warmer, grilling demand is expected to rise, supporting the market.

Brazilian cattle producers breathed a sigh of relief with China formally lifting its ban on their beef exports at the end of last week. Despite the temporary setback from the BSE case experienced by the Brazilian beef industry, Chinese relations only seem to be strengthening. Brazil’s ministerial visit to China also resulted in the successful accreditation of four new beef processing plants, and the lifting of existing suspensions on two others, increasing Brazil’s market access to China. Reports indicate that over 50 Brazilian meat packing plants have applied for Chinese export permits and that China’s final approval decisions will be heavily linked to President Lula’s eventual presidential visit to China. With China showing favour towards Brazil presently, there is the question of what this may mean for Australian processors that are currently suspended, and the timeline they may face for a return to access.

The week ahead….

The April and May period has historically seen a lower yarding of cattle. If the pattern holds, reduced downward pressure on prices may lend some temporary stability to the market, until more confidence in the El Niño and pastoral situation emerges.

A significant improvement in Chinese perceptions of Brazilian food safety, and Brazilian access to the Chinese marketplace poses a credible threat to the value of trade between Australia and China. As such, any outcomes that emanate from future meetings between the two countries are worthy of close attention by the Australian industry.

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!
Print This Post

Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Data sources: MLA, Argus, Steiner, Mecardo

Make decisions with confidence- ask about our board packs, bespoke forecasting and risk management services

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!
Northern bos indicus cattle in yard
Cattle

Someone let the bulls out

It could’ve been a post Beef Week high, or an adjustment in demand but this week’s market exuded a higher level of confidence. Sellers were

Read More »

Want market insights delivered straight to your inbox?

Sign up to the mailing list to get regular updates to new analysis and market outlooks

Independent analysis and outlook for wool, livestock and grain markets delivered to you as it’s published

Commodity conversations podcast cover image, a illustration of a sheep standing on a cow's back with grain either side
Listen to the podcast

Join the Mecardo team for the Commodity Conversations podcast, where we provide short weekly market recaps and longer conversations with guests to discuss the drivers and trends in livestock, grain and fibre markets.

Photo of a farmer surrounded by Merino sheep in dusty yards
Research: Analysis of the Australian sheep flock

In this report for LiveCorp and MLA, we analysed the historical trends in the demographics of the Australian sheep flock, examining domestic factors that influence farm-level enterprise decision making. 

Image of harvested grain pouring into a chaser bin
SERVICES AND CAPABILITIES STATEMENT BROCHURE

We don’t just bring you the most up to date market insights. Find out more about Mecardo’s services including risk management advisory, modelling, benchmarking, research & consultancy.