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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

25 January 2024

Key points:

  • The Restocker Yearling Heifer Indicator is up 18¢ to 309¢/kg lwt.
  • The Light Lamb Indicator eased by 7¢ to 648¢/kg cwt.
  • Cattle slaughter lifted by 27,802 to 116,113 head.

Market update

These comments are accurate to 5 pm Wednesday 24 January

Due to the national public holiday for Australia Day, this wrap was written a day in advance. Regular reporting will continue from next week. Thursday and Friday cattle and sheep sales, including Emerald, Dubbo, Wagga, Warwick and Yass, are not included in this commentary.


The cattle market lifted again this week across most indicators, with the rise attributed to decent rain across cattle country down Australia’s east coast. Yardings are trending 4,256 head lower than the same time last week. At the close of sales on Wednesday, cattle yarding throughput is sitting at 40,684 head. Many sales reports in both Queensland and NSW noted the dominant influence of feedlots over processors.

The Restocker Yearling Heifer Indicator is up 18¢ to 309¢/kg live weight (lwt). The Queensland Market Report notes that yearling heifers were performing better week-on-week due to high demand from feeder buyers paying a couple of cents above average.

The Processor Cow Indicator lifted 6¢ to 252¢/kg lwt. Yardings of processor cows lifted by 1,510 to 8,352 head. A noteworthy lift in the Wagga cow market saw heavy cows fetching prices between 260 to 279¢/kg lwt. While cow sales remained stable through the Wodonga sales.

Sheep and lambs

The sheep market generally eased this week. Yardings are down significantly, dropping by 205,180 to 446,719 head.  It’s worth nothing that Wagga contributes around 20% of total sheep and lamb yardings and its omission from these figures, due to Friday’s public holiday, is likely having a significant impact on the price movements and yardings reported this week.  

The Heavy Lamb Indicator has eased by 30¢ to 719¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). Market reports indicate lambs are lacking in finish and quality is mixed, with a limited number of heavy lambs. With yardings declining by 11,663 to 26,545 head for heavy lambs, a fewer number of high-quality heavy lambs are available, but prices remain relatively strong.

The Light Lamb Indicator eased by 7¢ to 648¢/kg cwt, with light lamb yardings also declining by 10,610 to 24,224 head and fewer lambs available in the market. A better-quality finish on lambs will most likely fetch a higher price.


Week ending 19 January 2024

Cattle slaughter lifted by 27,802 to 116,113 head. Queensland slaughter increased by 22,001 to 55,645 head, contributing to 48% of weekly cattle slaughter.

Combined sheep and lamb slaughter lifted by 60,003 to 655,235 head. The majority of states performed positively for both sheep and lamb slaughter. Standouts include NSW sheep slaughter lifting by 15,789 to 79,812 head and Victoria lamb slaughter rising by 23,641 to 243,952 head.