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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

21 October 2021

Key points:

  • The EYCI rebuilds by 2.8% to hit a new record
  • Heavy steer and medium cow prices ease
  • Trade lamb prices are stable as new season lambs arrive

EYCI rebounds

This week, the EYCI rebounded 2.7%, or 28.3c/kg, to hit a new record of 1,065.97c/kg cwt. The increase in the EYCI is being helped by high prices in Gunnedah, Wagga and Tamworth.

Interestingly, the higher EYCI has correlated with increased yardings. This is an unusual economic phenomenon, highlighting the strength of demand for young cattle.

The rebound in price can largely be attributed to the strong interest and activity from restockers, who made up 39% of all EYCI purchases this week – up from 31% in the previous week. Restockers are paying 1,171c/kg for young cattle, a premium of 156c/kg over feedlots. This year, the pattern is that in weeks when restockers are active the price is rising, and in weeks where restockers are not active, prices are falling.

Heavy Steer

The heavy steer price has often been considered a lead indicator for the EYCI. This week, however, while the EYCI climbed, the Heavy Steer Indicator fell 22c/kg, or 4.6%, to 448c/kg lwt, potentially signalling a decoupling of the two. However, small throughput of 123 head means caution should be taken when relying on this indicator.

Medium Cow

The Medium Cow Indicator eased 4c/kg this week, down 1% from an all-time record of 356c/kg lwt. Interestingly, the fall in the medium cow prices came as yardings eased.

Trade Lamb

Trade lamb prices are stable on week-ago levels at 884c/kg cwt, with yardings down over 10%. New season lambs are coming in strong – making up 90% of all trade lamb throughput. This is up from 82% a week ago.

The number of Dorpers coming through the Trade Lamb Indicator are falling, making up 5% of throughput this week, down 7% on week-ago levels.