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Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

13 January 2022

Key points:

  • Indicators resumed this week
  • Final export figures for 2021 released
  • BSE reported in Canada

Indicators

Indicators returned this week, with most categories performing similar to the levels they closed at in 2021. The only indicators to soften substantially were:

  • Heavy Lamb: down 4.4% to 832c/kg
  • Heavy Steer: down 3.7% to 441c/kg
  • Medium Cow: down 6.4% to 351c/kg
  • Medium Steer: down 9.5% to 441c/kg.

Most other categories traded firm. The categories that dipped this week tended to be those dominated by processor buyers, and the softening was a result of COVID-19 staffing shortages on their kill floors.

The EYCI and Trade Lamb Indicators traded well this week, at 1,162c/kg and 842c/kg, respectively. Smaller yardings across most categories are reflective of the Christmas break and COVID-19.

Over-the-hooks

No over-the-hook prices were reported this week due to a shortage of participants.

Slaughter

Slaughter for lambs and cattle were lower last week due to the COVID-19 isolation requirements. National cattle slaughter was 41,678 head, 41% below last year. In lambs, national slaughter last week was 34% down on 2020 levels, at 216,931 head.

Cyclone Tiffany

Cyclone tiffany is expected to bring rainfall events to Northern Australia, with falls of up to 300mm forecast in some areas of the NT and WA. This will be welcome news for northern cattle producers, especially after it follows a wet start to the month.

BSE detected in Canada

In December, an atypical case of BSE (mad cow disease) was detected in Canadian beef. This is similar to the case of atypical BSE detected in Brazilian beef in 2021, which resulted in Brazil losing access to China for three months. Canadian imports into South Korea, China and the Philippines have been banned. It is expected any loss of market for Canadian beef will be temporary and short.