Cattle in yards

Another short week last week resulted in lower cattle yardings, but this didn’t stop buyers coming to the markets, with strong demand for all types of cattle firming up all national indicators week on week.

East coast yardings for the week ending 22nd of April, were down 25% on last week and over 50% lower than the 5-year average (44,195), with just 20,182 head of cattle yarded – with the shorter weeks putting a dent in the numbers. Early market reports from MLA suggest that yardings have bounced back this week though, by as much as 182%, despite also being a short week.

East Coast slaughter remained relatively firm, considering the public holiday disruptions to processors, with just a 2% drop in cattle sent for slaughter, at 72,441 head.  This is still 29% below the same time last year however, and well below the 5-year average of 110,000.

Clearly there’s still plenty of producers confident in the season ahead with low numbers on offer at the yards an on-going theme of the markets. AuctionsPlus reported last week that ‘scarcity continues to be the driving force behind the young cattle market’, with strong demand for online sales.

The strong demand flowed through to marginally higher prices across all national categories week on week, according to MLA’s latest comprehensive indicators. Feeder steers were the highest movers, up 1.5% higher on last week to 542¢/kg lwt. (National indicators – table 2)

The EYCI also lifted, up 0.3% to 1088¢/kg cwt. Roma Store was the biggest contributor to 7-day average, with a 26% contribution at an average of 1,063¢/kg, followed by Dalby, with 14% of the cattle on offer at 1,080¢/kg.

Over in the west, the WYCI has fallen by around 64¢ on last week to 1156¢/kg with just 649 head of cattle the rolling 7-day average there.

As Angus looked at last week on Mecardo the US cattle herd is in major liquidation phase, which is seeing domestic prices soften and drag down imported beef prices as a result. In fact, according to the US Steiner report, total supply of beef in cold storage in the US at the end of March was at 536.9 million pounds, 13% higher than the 5-year average and the highest end of March beef inventory on record. This flowed onto a slight weakening in demand for imported beef,  thus the Aussie 90cl price fell down 5¢ to 294¢US/lb or to 881¢/kg swt.

 In other cattle market news, this week Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has released a new indicator, the Live Export Price Indicator (LEPI), which is based on sampled feeder male cattle prices for Indonesia live export cattle from Darwin

Angus Brown also took a look at retail meat prices in Australia in which you can read here on Mecardo.

The week ahead….

Despite being another short week this week, we can expect some higher numbers in the yards in the official report next week. And indications are that demand seems stronger than ever, with some rainfall in parts of Queensland this week buoying producers confidence.

As we return to a month of less public holidays, we may get some bigger numbers to the yards, and with that a clearer picture of where the market is travelling. Generally good pastoral conditions at present will likely perpetuate tight supply, which will continue to drive the market going forward. 

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Data sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus, Mecardo

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