Yardings skyrocket after price uptick

Murray grey cattle and calves in green paddock

Yardings skyrocketed off the back of stronger confidence in the market following the last two weeks of rain on the east coast. Almost every saleyard across the nation saw an increase, some over double the throughput compared to last week, as farmers looked to cash in on the recent price rises.

Initial throughput data from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) shows an increase of 66% in cattle yardings across the nation compared to last week, the highest weekly yardings seen since 2019. Despite the large increase in supply, demand also improved with all but one indicator finishing higher than the previous week.

Supply of cattle into the Feeder Steer Indicator lifted 71% on the previous week, up to 12,920 head. Dubbo had the highest yarding with over 2,000 head as farmers looked to cash in on recent price increases in the 2nd last sale of the year. Feeder Steer prices finished the week at 305c/kg  lwt up 4% from last week.

The Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) yardings smashed last week’s levels rising 70% (11,091 head) to 27,008. Like the Feeder Steer Indicator, this didn’t have a negative impact on price with it finishing up 7c/kg on last week to 570 c/kg cwt. This price is now at the same level as the winter plateau through June and July. Roma had the highest contribution with over 5,000 head (19% of the total throughput) and averaged 12% over the indicator at 638c/kg cwt.

Slaughter figures for the week ending the 1st of December were slightly down on recent weeks, only 1% above the 5-year average. In contrast, the three weeks prior saw weekly slaughter rates 5% or more above the 5-year average. The next two weeks traditionally we see a surge in kill rates before the Christmas wind down. 

The 90CL beef export price for the week ending the 1st of December followed its slight downward trend, ending 1.5% lower to 768 c/kg in AUD terms. Despite the recent softening, US imported beef prices remain historically strong as US meet buyers are looking to cover themselves for an expected large drop in their domestic supply in the new year from recent record high levels. 

What does it mean?

Despite the substantial increase in throughput, strong demand for all categories saw prices continue their upward trajectory, albeit at a subdued rate. This is a positive signal that the market is finding new support levels and may continue to rise. Next week should see strong yardings as some saleyards have their final sale for the year and farmers look to capitalise on recent price increases. 

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Data sources: MLA, Steiner, Mecardo

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