Queensland provided most of the action in the cattle market this week with significant increases in yardings and slaughter levels there. After the big dip in April, national yardings numbers are starting to head towards five-year average levels and slaughter is also crawling its way up from the extreme lows that we have seen.

Yardings rose slightly for the week ending 14th May, 2021, with the biggest increase coming from QLD with 21,000 head yarded, up from 17,000 on the week prior..Yardings fell in all other states fell, apart from SA which stayed around the same level.

A total of 42,272 head were yarded on the east coast last week, up 3% on the week prior, but down 7% on this time last year.

Slaughter bounced back up last week after two weeks of declining numbers. For the week ending 14th May, 2021, 104,627 cattle were slaughtered on the east coast, up 13% on the week prior, but still 15% down on this time last year.

Again, Queensland lifted the national slaughter figures, jumping up nearly 10,000 on the week prior, with a total of 54,233 cattle slaughtered there last week. All other states stayed around the same level except for Victoria which had 15,772 cattle slaughtered last week, up from 12,826 the week prior.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) continued its up and down run, falling back down from the 900¢ mark last week to finish this week at 886¢/kg cwt.

There were some mixed results in the national categories, with Vealer and Restocker steers dropping around 20¢ each on last week, although both categories are still over 100¢ stronger than this time last year. The biggest falls for Restocker Steers came from NSW and WA, both dropping 66¢ to settle at 508 & 445¢/kg lwt respectively. Vealer steers fell 20¢  in NSW and 16¢  in QLD to end the week at 513¢ & 424¢/kg lwt.

 All other national cattle indicators either stayed around the same as the previous week or rose slightly, with Feeder Steers making the biggest increase, lifting 4.6¢ nationally, to finish the week at 437¢/kg lwt. Feeder steers rose 65¢ in the West to end the week at 520¢/kg lwt. All other indicators fell in the west though, bar Heavy Steers which increased marginally.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) made up slightly for last weeks fall, to post a modest 9¢ lift to finish the week at 965¢/kg cwt, an impressive 250¢ increase on this time last year.

The aussie dollar only moved a smidgen upwards this week to finish at 0.778USD.

The 90CL frozen cow price continued its run upwards, jumping up 17¢(2.4%) to finish at 729 ¢/kg cwt. It is still 10% below this time last year but if it keeps on this upward trajectory it could reasonably break the 800¢/kg cwt mark within a month. Considering the recently announced 30 day halt to beef exports out of Argentina, aussie beef should continue to find support in overseas markets, especially with beef demand from China continuing to be strong.

The week ahead….

With not much rain forecast for Australia over the next week, especially in the north, current prices may entice more sellers to the market. However, with supply this tight, significant price falls will be limited in the short term.   

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo, BOM

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