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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

10 May 2024

Key points:

  • Export market with increased interest in extra heavy cattle and lambs.
  • The Heavy Lamb Indicator eased by 15¢ to 668¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), with yardings easing slightly to 28,699 head.
  • Largest weekly cattle slaughter since 2021 reaching 136,945 head>


With Beef Australia this week, the market was generally positive noting yardings easing by 11,672 to 54,236 head, a 34% reduction compared to the previous week. NSW yarding eased by 47% closely followed by Queensland with a 35% decrease in yardings.

The Heavy Steer Indicator lifted by 15¢ to 307¢/kg liveweight (lwt), yardings lifted by 402 to 2,056 head. Victorian prices eased by 1¢, and Queensland prices lifted by 56¢. Increased interest in export categories resulted in a shortage of fat cattle in Southern Australia due to drying conditions.

The Restocker Yearling Steer eased by 1¢ to 330¢/kg lwt, with more selective buyers for light-weight yearlings steers returning to paddock prices could not maintain previous sales. While drier conditions in Southern Australia, resulted in lighter weight stock was off loaded but there continues to be increased interested from feedlots and backgrounds leading to the Feeder Steer Indicator rising by 1¢ to 318¢/kg lwt.


The sheep market has generally eased with the exception of the Mutton Indicator lifting by 20¢. Yardings eased by 17,617 to 268,516 head, driven by lamb yardings easing by 13% to 181,763 head.

The Heavy Lamb Indicator eased by 15¢ to 668¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), with yardings easing slightly to 28,699 head. Market report from Wagga indicates that there is a strong demand for top quality heavy lambs but a noticeable decline in grain-assisted lambs. There continues to be a strong demand from the export market for extra heavy lambs, while an easing with the middle eastern market.

The Restocker Lamb Indicator declined by 0.3¢ to 502¢/kg cwt. Prices eased in a majority of states. Drier conditions in Victoria has led to a larger yardings of smaller and plainer lamb resulting in an overall drop in quality. At Hamilton, restocker and feeder interest remained strong in securing lambs for feedlots and paddocks.


Week Ending 3 May 2024

Cattle slaughter has been lifted by 27,732 to 136,945 head to reach the largest weekly slaughter since 2021. Slaughter is 442 heads above the previous record set in the week ending 22nd March 2024. NSW slaughter rose by 28% to 33,359 head and Queensland slaughter rose by 15,392 head or by 26%. Year-to-date slaughter is 23% higher, notably Victorian slaughter lifting by 45%.

Combined sheep and lamb slaughter rose by 122,199 to 690,177 head reaching the fourth largest weekly slaughter on record. Lamb slaughter rose by 100,632 to achieve the second-largest weekly slaughter at 502,224 head in the past three years, with sheep slaughter rising by 21,567 to 187,953 head. Victoria reached the largest weekly slaughter on record at 254,542 head-a 17% increase on the previous week.