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Weekly sheep and cattle market wrap

04 May 2022

Key points:

  • The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) hit a new record after good rainfall in WA. 
  • Restocker lamb prices are easing while light lamb prices bounce back. 
  • The RBA interest rate was increased on Tuesday for the first time since 2010.

WYCI hits a high 

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) hit a new record this week at 1,222.66¢/kg cwt after strong April rainfall in WA improved restocker sentiments. This beat the previous record from 22 April by 3¢, with the indicator increasing 73¢ on Tuesday after the Muchea sale. However, while prices are stronger, yardings are still seasonally softer. 

Medium steers recover 

Medium steer prices have bounced back by 60¢ week-on-week following interest from restockers which pushed up demand. CTLX Carcoar offered a 60¢ premium on the national average, contributing just under 12% due to stronger restocker demand which is competing with processor and feeder sales. 

Meanwhile, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) is up 20¢ week-on-week at 1107.75¢ /kg cwt. Roma offered a 39¢ premium on the national average after strong rains in Queensland last week improved restocker sentiment. While Roma had softer yardings at nearly 3,000 head with more buyers present, the quality was better across all the categories. 

Dalby is expected to experience good rain, increasing demand from restockers. With widespread rain across key producing areas in Queensland, the market continues to show resilience. 

Lamb prices remain volatile  

Restocker lamb prices have eased considerably from last week to 804.82¢ /kg cwt – a 48c drop week-on-week. Forbes is still offering a premium by 198c on the national average while the largest contributor, Hamilton, traded 28¢ below the average. Varied rain across the country and mixed quality in the lambs is influencing restocker intentions. 

Light lamb prices have been very volatile in the last few weeks, having been easing since December last year. At the end of last week, the price hit 749.06¢ /kg cwt – only 5c higher than the low reached in the middle of April.  

In encouraging news, prices have since bounced back to 795.2¢/kg cwt with the largest contributor, Forbes, trading at a 75¢ premium on the national average. Even though Forbes is showing a softer yarding week-on-week, the quality improved slightly with extra heavy lamb prices lifting and pressure from restockers with the recent rains pushing up prices.  

RBA increases interest rate  

The interest rate was increased on Tuesday for the first time since 2010 to 0.35. This is expected to put pressure on already high fuel and fertiliser costs. Luckily, for the livestock industry, this makes up a low proportion of production costs and the largest challenge faced by the industry will concern labour.  

This RBA increase is expected to happen again in the coming months. 

Sales update  

The Toowoomba cattle sale and Blackall market did not go ahead this week, with another short week for Queensland.