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

Cattle and sheep market wrap

01 December 2023

Key points:

  • The feeder steer indicator lifted 43¢ to 287¢/kg lwt.
  • Light lambs rose by 42¢ to 449¢/kg cwt.
  • Victorian lamb slaughter is the highest on record.


The cattle market continued to lift this week as rain across the country continues to boost market confidence.

Yardings lifted by 4,651 to 41,637, largely off the back of higher yardings in Queensland. Charters Towers, which did not run last week, showed 2,517 head, while yardings at Dalby lifted by 2,280 to 4,003 head.

The feeder steer indicator rose 42¢ over the week to 287¢/kg live weight (lwt). Prices generally lifted by more in the north, though it did lift across the east coast. In Victoria, the Indicator lifted by 12¢ to 229¢/kg lwt, as price lifts in Wodonga were matched by easing in Mortlake and Shepparton. In Queensland, the indicator rose 60¢ to 327¢/kg lwt, the highest the indicator has reached since early July.

In general, prices are lifting further for restocker cattle than finished cattle, a reversal of the trend observed throughout the year. For example, the restocker yearling heifer has risen 43¢ to 277¢/kg lwt this week, while the processor cow has risen by a comparably smaller 19¢ to 206¢/kg lwt.

Sheep and lambs

The sheep and lamb market lifted over the week. Lamb yardings rose by 19,942 to 243,456 head, while sheep yardings rose by 5,921 to 93,442 head.

The light lamb indicator rose 42¢ over the week to 449¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). Prices lifted across every state and in nearly every saleyard, with National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) reports mentioning strong competition from buyers and good condition on new season lambs, which are now making up the majority of most sales.

The mutton indicator lifted 54¢ over the week to 205¢/kg cwt. Recent rain has made destocking less urgent for some producers, and NLRS reports noted an improvement in the average quality of sheep this week. Over the last month, the mutton indicator has risen by 96¢, an 87% lift in price.


Week ending 24/11/2023

Cattle slaughter fell by 4,075 to 128,454 head. Slaughter had a mixed week with a drop of 3,847 to 65,913 head in Queensland and a lift in slaughter of 1,120 to 33,822 head in New South Wales.

Lamb slaughter has lifted by 14,816 to 493,778 head, while sheep slaughter has fallen 10,138 to 186,041 head. Overall slaughter has been firm in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria only falling 62 head between them. Western Australia combined slaughter has eased by 27,637 head.

The combined slaughter figures of 679,815 head is the largest slaughter on record for 2023, and lamb slaughter in Victoria is the highest on record at 251,459 head.

Beef producer intentions survey

The November beef producer intentions survey is currently running. The survey is focused on grassfed cattle producers and will deliver valuable herd demographic data, alongside sentiment insights and an indication of producers’ intentions over the upcoming 12 months.

Producers who complete the survey can elect to receive a benchmarking scorecard which will compare their performance against similar producers in their state and of a similar herd size.

To complete the survey, click here