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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

19 January 2024

Key points:

  • The EYCI lifted by 28¢ to 616.35¢/kg cwt.
  • The mutton indicator lifted by 52¢ to 294¢/kg cwt.
  • Sheep and lamb slaughter has lifted 120,830 to 595,232 head.


The cattle market lifted overall this week. Yardings rose by 31,585 to 57,966 head, a 23% increase compared to the same time last year. This growth was underpinned by NSW and Queensland with combined yardings of 35,644 head.

The Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) rose by 28¢ to 616.35¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). Prices lifted in NSW and Victoria due to strong rainfall, resulting in increased demand for restockers. With an influx of young cattle, prices lifted 4¢ to 621¢/kg cwt at Dalby, with similar results recorded at other saleyards.

The feeder steer indicator rose by 20¢ to 328¢/kg live weight (lwt). Prices were mixed across the states, with NSW 23¢ above the national price. Market reports indicate feedlots took centre stage, with the large yarding of feeder steers at Wagga commanding a significant increase in prices.


The sheep market eased this week, with the exception of the mutton indicator.

Overall, yardings increased by 31,976 to 378,019 head, a 9% increase on the previous week. Supply continued to be steady over the fortnight, showing a strong market.
The heavy lamb indicator eased by 60¢ to 721¢/kg cwt and prices have eased in all states with substantial throughput. At Wagga, which accounts for 30% of the market, prices dipped by 30¢ to 692¢/kg cwt. This downturn in prices reflects market concerns about lamb prices going above 700¢/kg cwt.

The mutton indicator lifted by 52¢ to 294¢/kg cwt. State by state, prices lifted in the majority of states. According to market reports, mutton yardings have doubled at Forbes and Ballarat. Prices at Wagga lifted by 27¢ to 321¢/kg cwt, with producers taking advantage of the strong market to offload stock.


Week ending 12 January 2024

Cattle slaughter lifted 34,663 to 88,331 head, a 65% increase on the previous week. All states recorded very strong slaughter results during the first fortnight of the year.

Combined sheep and lamb slaughter lifted 120,830 to 595,232 head, a 25% increase on the previous week. Lamb slaughter rose by 65,097 to 432,308 head, with a slight dip of 3,594 head in Queensland and WA. Sheep slaughter lifted by 55,733 to 162,924 head. Strong results across the first fortnight have delivered a good start to the new year.