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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

22 December 2023

Key points:

  • The feeder steer declined by 36¢ to 249¢/kg lwt.
  • The light lamb indicator lifted by 25¢ to 541¢/kg cwt.
  • Sheep and lamb slaughter rose by 175,712 to 849,118 head, reflecting a 26% week-over-week increase.


The cattle market eased this week. With Christmas at our doorstep, some key saleyards have closed for the year and will start up in the new year. Market reports states key buyers and processors were not operating thus entering a cheaper market compared to the previous week. Cattle yardings dropped by 75,112 to 7,452 head, however such a significant decline is expected given the time of year.

The feeder steer declined by 36¢ to 249¢/kg liveweight (lwt). Prices across the eastern states eased significantly while lifting for Western Australia. In NSW, the market generally eased, however Wagga prices grew by 15¢ above the national average price of 249¢/kg lwt, fuelled by the availability of suitable cattle for feeders and restockers. The same phenomenon occurred at Carcoar with prices rising by 32¢ above the national average. The limited yardings display producers’ desire for quality young cattle to enter the market in the new year.  

Sheep and lamb

The sheep and lamb market was mixed this week. Yardings eased by 373,799 to 120,267 head, representing a 76% decrease compared to the previous week.

The trade lamb indicator eased by 18¢ to 622¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). Prices across the states were mixed with Victorian prices dropping by 33¢ below the national average of 622¢/kg cwt. The National Reporting Livestock Service (NLRS) said there was less intensity for trade and heavy lambs, which suppressed prices.   

The light lamb indicator lifted by 25c to 541c/kg cwt. The lift in prices was driven by more competitive bidding for lighter lambs and less demand for export and heavy lambs due to pre- organised Christmas kills.


Week ending 15 December 2023

Cattle slaughter eased by 4,192 to 116,695 head last week. Slaughter has eased significantly in a majority of states, collectively lifting in Queensland and Western Australia by 984 head.

Sheep and lamb slaughter lifted by 175,712 to 849,118 head. A 26% increase represents the highest week-on-week jump in slaughter for 2023.