Subscribe to MLA's e-newsletters

Stay informed with the latest red meat and livestock industry news, events, research and marketing.

Sign up
Back to News & Events

Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

21 June 2024

Key points:

  • Heavier lambs have outperformed a generally easing market.
  • Slaughter dipped below 130,000 for the first time since April.
  • The Online Young Cattle Indicator lifted 23¢ over the week.

Cattle market

The livestock market generally moved sideways this week. Yardings dipped by 7,349 to 53,655 head, despite the longer trading week in some states after the King’s Birthday long weekend. This was mostly due to a 9,974 head drop in Queensland yardings to 15,465 head. Yardings were smaller in every Queensland sale except Dalby.

The Online Young Cattle Indicator lifted 23¢ over the week to 368¢/kg liveweight (lwt). Prices for Angus cattle matching the indicator spec largely held firm over the week, while Hereford prices lifted 19¢ over the week to 330¢/kg lwt. This lift in Hereford prices came alongside a substantial rise in transaction volume; from 176 last week to 817 this week.

The Processor Cow Indicator fell by 10¢ over the week to 25¢/kg lwt. Indicator throughput lifted by 956 to 8,642 in contrast to the prevailing trend. The National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) market reports indicate that plain showings of cows were more common than in the previous week.

Sheep market

There was an ease in the market this week, as wet conditions impacted condition and average quality trended slightly plainer. Total yardings lifted by 92,565 to 302,713 head, the largest yarding since late April. This increase was largely driven by the reintroduction of Monday sales which were impacted by last week’s long weekend; at a sale-by-sale level the yardings were generally steady.

Demand for well-finished lambs remained strong as supply dipped, while the supply of lighter lambs rose. This meant that the more finished end of the market lifted, contrary to the general trend. The Heavy Lamb Indicator lifted 10¢ over the week to 719¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), while the Trade Lamb Indicator fell 6¢ to 710¢/kg cwt. This is the biggest premium for the Heavy Lamb Indicator over the Trade Lamb Indicator so far in June, when the two have generally traded together. Declines were more substantial at the lighter end of the market, with the Light Lamb indicator easing 43¢ to 572¢/kg cwt.


Week ending 14 June 2024

Processor numbers fell week-on-week as the long weekend reduced throughput in most states.

Cattle slaughter fell 10,573 from last week to 129,169 head. NSW slaughter fell by 5,345 to 28,504 head, while Victorian slaughter fell by 3,569 head. In states with a full week, slaughter numbers were much firmer. Queensland slaughter held still, easing by only 329 to 73,378 head, while slaughter rose by 383 to 2,617 head in Western Australia.

Combined lamb and sheep slaughter fell by 113,578 to 547,025 head, the lowest weekly kill figure since January. Victorian lamb slaughter saw the biggest decline, with numbers falling by 71,683 to 176,261 head. The only lift in lamb slaughter was in Western Australia, with a rise of 17,049 to 63,174 head.