Northern bos indicus cattle in yard

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 met with a stronger market, despite a lift in cattle throughput.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) rose by 20¢ over the week, settling at 625¢/kg cwt. The improving prices over the last month have pushed the EYCI to mid-April levels, marking a 10¢ increase year-on-year. Young cattle prices may find some resistance in the weeks ahead, with big cattle numbers already on the books.

In the West, though saleyard throughput saw a minor week-on-week decrease, young cattle prices dropped by 10¢ to 438¢/kg cwt, reflecting a substantial 32% decline from the previous year due to drought conditions.

Tighter feeder steer supply helped to drive the market higher this week. At saleyards, feeder steer prices rose by 11¢ to 329¢/kg lwt, maintaining levels similar to those of 12 months prior. According to Argus, in the north, some are awaiting a frost that would likely encourage more weight suitable for feedlot entry.

Heavy steers were the only category to falter slightly this week. The National Heavy Steer Indicator dropped by 6¢ to 301¢/kg lwt, though prices remain close to the January peak of 313¢/kg lwt. With a seasonal lull in supply from the south, southern processors are sourcing from further afield.

Queensland witnessed a decrease in cattle slaughter last week, resulting in a 6% week-on-week decline for total east coast slaughter. Despite this dip, the total eastern kill numbers over the last four weeks have surpassed the five-year average for this period by 17%. Several processors are introducing additional shifts to capitalize on the beef demand, supporting the market for slaughter-ready cattle. However, extra shifts will only go so far if we see another significant flow of cattle to the market.

The week ahead….

Big numbers are still expected to come out of the channel country in the north, and the dryness in Victoria and South Australia is keeping saleyard throughput elevated at above average levels. While the longer range rainfall forecasts are at this stage mixed, the upcoming weather pattern doesn’t look to be brining much moisture to the dry areas in the south or west in the near term.

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Data sources: MLA, Argus Media, Nutrien Ag SOlutions, Mecardo

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Northern bos indicus cattle in yard
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