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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

29 July 2022

Key points:

  • The ECYI eases another 60¢ week-on-week as the WYCI gains a premium.
  • The light lamb indicator eases 122¢ as processor spots fill up and new season lambs move through the yards.
  • Cattle slaughter has cracked 100,000 head for the first time this year.
  • Sheep slaughter has increased this week following the end of lambing.

This week’s market movers

  • The EYCI eased 60¢ to 887.74¢/kg cwt
  • Heavy steers eased 45¢ to 402.87¢/kg lwt
  • Light lambs eased 122¢ to 517.62¢/kg cwt
  • Merino lambs eased 117¢ to 499.91¢/kg cwt

EYCI and WYCI

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) continued to ease this week, softening 60¢ week-on-week. This brings the four-week price change to 126¢ in mid-June. The largest contributors to the indicator, Roma and Wagga Wagga, are contributing 29% collectively and are still trading at a premium on the national average. Restocker sales softened 12.6% and were overtaken by feeder sales contributing to the indicator. Read more on market drivers affecting the EYCI here.

In general, yardings continue to strengthen with an increasing supply of young cattle and young lambs. Supply at Swan Hill on Thursday lifted to 622 head – one of the largest yardings in the past year for the saleyard. This was met with a good supply of vealers and trade steers and heifers, and the majority of the sales went to processors.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) has bounced back 19¢ this week with Mount Barker taking out 78% of the contribution. Yardings at Muchea have eased 71%. Currently, the WYCI has a 22¢ premium on the EYCI, with the WYCI sitting at 909.72¢/kg cwt.

Sheep and lamb indicators

Processors have been more cautious in the market lately. Many processors use saleyards to fill the gaps in forward contracts that have already been made in 2021. Some processors are also going through their yearly winter maintenance shutdowns, which take them offline.

The easing of lamb prices has also seen buyers step back and watch the market before making purchasing decisions. This is taking less buyers out of the market, creating downward pressure on sheep and lamb prices across the board.

Light lamb indicator

The light lamb indicator has eased 130¢/kg cwt on the back of the Forbes and Muchea sales, which contributed the most and traded 73.7¢/kg cwt and 66.8¢/kg cwt respectively under the national average.

Muchea has nearly doubled its yardings for the light lamb indicator as the new season lambs start to hit the market and older ewes are sold off after lambing. Quality heavy lambs are also moving through the saleyard with the lamb yardings increasing by 1,568 head.

Slaughter

Cattle slaughter has cracked the 100,000 head mark for the first time this year, reaching 100,638 head. This is after an increase in slaughter rates in Queensland of 4.6%.

Sheep slaughter also increased 57% as lambing concludes in many regions and the seasonal dip in slaughter begins to subside. Lamb slaughter is back above 2021 levels, sitting at 352,084 head this week.

Market drivers explained

A deeper dive into the market drivers that are influencing the cattle market can be found in MLA’s latest media release, Multiple drivers influencing cattle price performance.

This release gives insight into the long-term performance of the market and how current prices are performing against this.