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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

18 November 2021

Key points:

  • The EYCI smashes through the 1,100c/kg mark 
  • The supply of young WA cattle surges 
  • Weekly lamb slaughter is finishing the year, close to 2020 and 2019 levels


On Wednesday the EYCI hit 1,102c/kg cwt, breaking the 1,100c/kg cwt mark for the first time ever. Widespread rain in central and eastern Australia was responsible for the rise.  

The rain enticed restockers into the market, who bought 38% of all young cattle, up from 31% the previous week. The influence of the restockers on the EYCI is substantial at current as they are paying a 175c/kg premium to lot feeders and a 275c/kg premium to processors.  

The price rise this week could be attributed to price rises at Gunnedah, Wagga, Roma and Dalby. In Roma, the average price paid for young cattle now averages 1,230c/kg. 


The WYCI is trading at a 41c/kg cwt premium to the EYCI at present. Throughput of the WYCI has also increased over the last few months as the state enters the spring selling period, with over 2,000 animals now trading through the WYCI.  

What is noticeable is the prevalence of restocked buyers. At present, restockers are buying a third of WA’s young cattle – paying a 111c/kg premium to lot feeders in the state. 

Other cattle indicators 

The hot competition and high prices for young cattle are forcing lot feeders and processors to source different categories of cattle. As a result of the red-hot EYCI, processors and feeders have been active in the medium cow and medium steer markets. Both the Medium Cow and Medium Steer Indicators are at elevated levels, with the former sitting at 378c/kg lwt, demonstrating just how few females are available for slaughter.  

Lamb slaughter 

Weekly national lamb slaughter has picked up, rising 10% in the week. This increase puts it only slightly behind 2020 and 2019 levels. It is expected that as Victoria leaves lockdown, lamb processing numbers will remain strong for the remainder of the year. 

Sheep price recovery 

Sheep prices across heavy and trade lambs and mutton have all recovered this week – rising 3.5%, 2% and 3%, respectively. All of these categories’ prices rose as yardings also increased – an interesting phenomenon. The return to higher lamb slaughter volumes this week and the presence of processors in the saleyards indicate that the processor demand is behind the price rises.