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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

09 December 2021

Key points:

  • Queensland restocker and feeder buyers dominated cattle market movements this week
  • The Restocker Yearling Steer and Feeder Steer Indicators provide insights to the movements and price rise of the EYCI.
  • Victorian spring lamb flush continues to remain buoyant, but supplies overall are softer compared with the same week in 2020.

Queensland  

Queensland restocking and now feedlot buying activity in the cattle market is driving prices to records each week. On Tuesday, the Restocker Yearling Steer, Feeder Steer and Eastern Young Cattle Indicators all broke new ground, driven by Queensland feeder and restocker buyers.

The drivers of the EYCI relate to how Queensland buyers are operating and at what intensities, with the yearling and feeder indicators a clear indication of this.

The Restocker Yearling Steer Indicator lifted 20c to hit 749c lwt, which is 274c/kg, or 36%, higher than a year ago. This was driven by a 54c/kg lwt week-on-week price rise from the Roma sale, which also yarded the most cattle. Its price for restocker steers was the highest in the indicator’s yarding.

The Feeder Steer also lifted by 3c overnight to hit 574c/kg lwt. Again, Roma was the key driver, rising 37c week-on-week to hit 660c/kg lwt. Roma’s yarding of feeder steers also rose by 452 head. These statistics demonstrate the strength of the current feeder market, buoyed by the confidence of the influx of feed grain to support margins after a challenging harvest for grain growers. The support also demonstrates the demand for Australian beef, both domestically and internationally, after a limited supply throughout 2021 due to the herd rebuild maturing.

The EYCI reached 1,147c on Wednesday, rising 11c overnight, after a 27c/kg cwt lift on Tuesday. The Roma and Dalby sales played significant roles, with their indicator prices for all young cattle lifting 70c and 104c week-on-week to reach 1,260c and 1,193c/kg cwt, respectively. Both sales contributed 31%, or 5,210 head, of the total yarding.

Overall, the supply of young cattle has increased substantially to be 7,888 head higher week-on-week and 3,992 head higher than 12 months ago on the same date. These supply rises demonstrate producer and lot feeder confidence, with supply not impacting demand at all.

Victorian lambs

With less wet weather impacting the paddock and transport conditions, lambs in key Victorian saleyards continue to deliver significant supplies to market. Hamilton was the key influencer of these higher numbers again this week, with its two sales driving those numbers higher. However, numbers are softer at a week-on-week comparison to 2020 figures.

Looking ahead

Rain will continue to dictate both cattle markets movements and the supply of lambs to the end of the calendar year as saleyards shut down for the Christmas and New Year break period. Supplies of both species in early 2022 will remain dependent on producer attitudes around rebuilding their cattle herds and the overall freshness, finish and quality of lambs following a wet spring and early summer.