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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

14 June 2024

Key points:

  • The cattle market is strong with minimal price movements.
  • Competitive bidding from niche buyers has pushed prices up for the Trade Lamb Indicator.
  • Cattle and sheep slaughter eased but continues to remain elevated compared to 2022.


The cattle market has eased this week, with the exception of the Restocker Yearling Steer Indicator which lifted by 1¢. An easing in yardings by 8,859 to 50,100 head was due to public holidays in NSW and Victoria.

The Restocker Yearling Heifer Indicator eased by 8¢ to 238¢/kg liveweight (lwt), with prices easing in most states except Queensland. There was a short supply of prime quality cattle and there a limited number of prime grown steers and heifers.

The Feeder Steer Indicator eased by 5¢ to 324¢/kg lwt, with yardings also easing by 434 to 5,308 head. Queensland and NSW cattle are getting a premium in the market when compared to other states. The prices in Queensland rose by 6¢, with Gracemere lifting by 5¢. There were high quality feeder steer cattle suited for feedlot buyers resulting in the lift in prices according to market reports.


There has been a positive trend in the sheep market over the last couple weeks, with the Trade Lamb Indicator outpricing the Heavy Lamb Indicator. Yardings eased by 37,720 to 197,548 head. Sheep yardings lifted by 13,085 to 84,806 head and lamb yardings eased by 50,805 to 112,742 head.

The Trade Lamb Indicator rose by 6¢ to 716¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). Market reports indicate orders from domestic buyers and niche butchers contributed to the increase in trade prices, with lambs weighing 26–30kg highly sought after. This demand led to trade lambs outpricing the heavy lambs.

The Restocker Lamb Indicator rose by 9¢ to 609¢/kg cwt, yardings eased by 2,003 to 21,851 head. All states saw prices rise, except for NSW, where prices eased by 8¢. Notably, prices eased by 105¢ at Yass, with a similar trend occurring at Forbes saleyard.


Week ending 7 June 2024

Cattle slaughter eased by 2,120 to 140,042 head, marking the second largest weekly slaughter in the last four years. The public holiday has eased slaughter slightly in both NSW and Queensland by 1,004 and 1,058 head respectively.

Combined sheep and lamb slaughter has eased by 29,774 to 660,603 head. This was largely due to a reduction in sheep slaughter of 23,377 head. The public holiday significantly reduced processor capacity. There was an easing in slaughter in Victoria by 10,220 to 49,525 head. Western Australian slaughter also saw a decline by 8,097 to 25,709 head. Lamb slaughter was just under half a million head at 493,619 head. The largest easing in slaughter, at 11,086 head, was seen in Western Australia.