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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

22 September 2023

Key points:

  • El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole were declared by the Bureau of Meteorology.
  • The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator eased 27¢ to 397¢/kg cwt.
  • The October wave of the sheep producer intentions survey will begin on 2 October.


On Tuesday, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) declared that El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are underway. This suggests that spring and summer this year are likely to be hotter and drier than average, which aligns with previous forecasts from the BOM.


The trend in indicator prices was unchanged from the previous week, generally easing with the gradient determined by weight and animal condition.

Cattle yardings rose 1,925 head this week to 46,458 head. The increase was seen in every state except Western Australia, where yardings slipped by 94 to 1,512 head, and Victoria, where yardings fell by 1,157 head due to sales not running.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) eased by 27¢ to 397¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). The restocker component of the indicator was weaker than the EYCI overall, 21¢ below the EYCI at 376¢/kg cwt. In general, restocker demand slipped over the week, with the restocker yearling heifer indicator falling 21¢ over the week to 156¢/kg liveweight (lwt).


Lamb yardings lifted by 2,294 to 174,317 head, while sheep numbers fell by 12,028 to 55,529 head, for a total yarding of 229,846 head, 9,734 lower than the previous week.

Indicator prices were mixed this week, as some indicators lifted while others maintained the previous trend. The restocker lamb indicator lifted 25¢ over the week to 280¢/kg cwt. Restocker purchases of new season lambs at CTLX Calcoar saw the indicator at that saleyard climb 93¢ to 295¢/kg cwt, while a quality run at Wagga saw an increase of 36¢ to 395¢/kg cwt.

New season lambs now commonly make up a significant portion of lamb yardings. In Wagga, 17,600 new season lambs made up 30% of the yarding.

Sheep producer intentions survey

On 2 October, the October wave of the Sheep Producer Intentions Survey (SPIS) will go out to sheep producers across the country. The survey is an essential source of information about producer intentions and circumstances for industry and is increasingly important for understanding dynamics in the market.

The previous survey can be found here, and more information about the October wave will be included upcoming editions of The Weekly.


Week ending 15/09

Cattle slaughter steadily increased, rising by 963 to 126,585 head, the second largest week so far this year. Weekly slaughter numbers are now close to, or slightly above levels seen in mid-2020 and on an upward trend as cattle supply rises.

Combined sheep and lamb slaughter fell by 11,131 from last week to 607,187 head. Sheep slaughter rose by 5,680 to 160,165 head, while lamb slaughter fell by 16,791 to 447,022 head. Slaughter is now consistently above the 2019 weekly slaughter average and close to the 2017–18 average.

Market updates

The Bairnsdale cattle market did not run on Thursday.

To align with current market conditions, the National Livestock Reporting Service began reporting sheep and lamb sales sold from $1/head in all market reports on Monday 17 September.