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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

28 June 2024

Key points:

  • Lamb slaughter once again reached record numbers, processing 511,102 head.
  • Cattle slaughter was the highest since January 2020, at 142,390 head.
  • Restocker Yearling Steer prices fell below Feeder Steers for the first time since October 2023.

Cattle market

The cattle market was varied this week. Cattle yardings eased 15,960 head to 49,145, with Queensland the only state to see a significant lift in yarding to 18,593 head.

The Restocker Yearling Steer Indicator was the lowest performer this week, easing by 14¢ on last week to 309¢/kg liveweight (lwt). This is the first time since October 2023 it has fallen below feeder prices. The Queensland indicator price was the lowest it has been this year. Despite positive market results in Roma, other yards in the state were mainly under the national price. National throughput remained stable compared to the previous week’s numbers.

The Feeder Steer Indicator eased week-on-week; this was primarily driven by an elevated throughput of 7,804 head. Longer-term price trends, however, have remained relatively flat. Prices dipped 9¢ to 323¢/kg lwt. NSW supported the national price (the state indicator reading 23¢ above at 348¢/kg lwt), with rainfall across parts of the state supporting confidence.  With high supply impacting the Queensland market, prices were 20¢ below the indicator at 302¢/kg lwt.

Sheep market

There was positive movement in the sheep market this week. Sheep yardings eased to 200,156 lambs, which was a reduction of 10,992 head, and only 19,383 sheep, a decrease of 22,832. Reduced yardings were seen across all states bar WA and Tasmania.

The Trade Lamb Indicator was the best performer this week. The indicator saw a throughput lift of over 2,000 head as prices rose 52¢ to 762¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). These are the highest prices since January this year. The highest throughput was in NSW, which also came in with the highest price at 761¢/kg cwt, as conditions seem to favour the state. There was some relief in Victoria with the state indicator up 38¢ to 757¢/kg cwt.

The lowest performer this week was the Mutton Indicator.  Despite low supply, prices still fell by 4¢ to 336¢/kg cwt. Looking to the states, WA and Tasmania were the only states with week-on-week lifts in mutton prices. The WA price has now lifted above 280¢/kg cwt, a price not recorded since July 2023.


Week ending 21 June 2024

Processor numbers were back up after the previous long weekend dip.

Cattle slaughter lifted week-on-week across all states, bringing national slaughter up 12,921 head to total 142,390 – the largest processor output since January 2020.  Victoria recorded a significant lift of 25%, processing a total of 22,798 head after the long weekend. Last week was the state’s biggest throughput week since July 2020. There were higher numbers across NSW (34,672), SA (3,395) and Tasmania (5,002), making up for the short week. WA and Queensland remained relatively stable, though above long-term averages with 2,785 respectively and 73,738.

Combined sheep and lamb slaughter reached 684,751, up 137,726 from the week prior. This is still well above the average weekly slaughter rates, over 11 million slaughtered year-to-date, tracking 24% above the same week last year.

Lamb slaughter reached a new record processing 511,102 head across the week. This is only the sixth time numbers have tipped half a million, all in the past two months. A huge 70,059 lift in Victoria supported these numbers, with the state processing just under 250,000 head. Sheep slaughter lifted 42,973 to 173,973 head, though under the weekly average for the year-to-date. It is common for reductions in sheep slaughter as we move into the second half of the year.