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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

20 October 2023

Key points:

  • At the time of writing, several market reports from the previous week are yet to be published, impacting indicator throughput and reporting.
  • Cattle and sheep live exports rose in September, with cattle exports rising 11% from August and sheep exports returning after the end of the summer export ban period.
  • MLA’s annual State of the Industry report has been published.

National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) updates

At the time of writing (Thursday 19 October), several market reports from this week have not been uploaded to the NLRS database due to technical issues, impacting the current presentation of yardings, indicator prices and the market reports themselves.


Week ending 13/10

Weekly cattle slaughter lifted 18% from last week to 130,933 head, the highest weekly figure since May 2020. Slaughter lifted in all states except Victoria and Tasmania, with Queensland slaughter reporting an especially strong 25% increase from last year to 68,880 head, alongside a 22% increase in NSW to 34,038 head.

Total sheep and lamb slaughter rose by 36,095 to 586,150 head. This was largely driven by an increase in lamb slaughter, which rose by 8% to 450,649 head. Victorian lamb slaughter was the highest on record, at 244,265 head.

Live export

The Department of Agriculture released live export numbers this week, which showed an update from month-ago and year-ago levels.

Australia exported 60,451 live cattle in September, 11% more than August and 35% more than September 2022. Exports to Indonesia eased slightly from year-ago levels, while exports to China, Vietnam, Israel and the Philippines all recorded strong growth year-on-year.

Live sheep exports lifted to 57,311 as the summer export ban period ended. So far in 2023, Australia has exported 480,035 sheep, 67% more than the first nine months of 2022, with exports rising in all major markets.

For more information on Australian live exports, see the Livelink report on the trends and analysis page. Livelink has been updated to include a new dashboard allowing users to access historical data in a user-friendly, interactive format.

State of the Industry

On Wednesday, MLA released the annual State of the Industry report, which offers an in-depth analysis of the red meat and livestock industry’s performance and economic contribution for the previous financial year.

The full report is available here.

Sheep producer intentions survey

The October Sheep Producer Intentions Survey is currently running. It is a crucial source of information for industry on a range of important topics. The data collected by MLA is intended to replace Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reporting of categorical sheep flock numbers, which ceased in January 2023.

To complete the survey, click here.