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Weekly sheep and cattle market wrap

12 May 2022

Key points:

  • Yardings are returning to normal as the EYCI softens and the WYCI shows some volatility
  • Dubbo yardings lift by nearly 12,000 head this week
  • Slaughter has increased for cattle, sheep and lambs while goat slaughter volumes soften.

Indicators

EYCI and WYCI

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has softened 21¢/kg cwt week-on-week with yardings back to numbers regularly seen in full weeks. Larger saleyards like Singleton, Casino and Dubbo were fetching a premium on the national average with prices between 1,116¢/kg cwt and 1,175¢/kg cwt.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) has been more volatile in recent weeks with lower yardings. This week, as yardings nearly doubled, the WYCI softened 61¢ week-on-week to 1,161.61¢/kg cwt. Mount Barker is trading at a 31¢ premium on the indicator average while Muchea, which has a softer yarding, is trading under the indicator average at 965.31¢/kg cwt.

Restocker steers

Meanwhile, restocker yearling steers continue to soften, reaching 646.58¢/kg lwt. Last week’s Emerald sale and this week’s Dalby and Roma store sale were trading at a premium on the national average, taking out 58% of the contribution to this indicator.

Emerald had a firmer yarding at the end of last week, with numbers increasing by 2,910 head week-on-week. The quality was mixed in the yearling category here but demand from restockers remained, taking up 59% of sales.

Areas around Dalby have had good rainfall which softened the Dalby yardings this week by 1,194 head. Cattle at this sale are still being drawn from a wide area, coming from as far as South Australia. Dalby was trading at a premium in most categories.

Medium steers

Medium steer prices have softened by 26¢ week-on-week with SELX Yass trading at highest premium of 58¢ on the national average of 454.04¢/kg lwt. Greater demand from feeders has been met with competition from processors for the softer yardings this week, pushing up prices as a result.

Heavy steers

The national average for heavy steers has increased 29¢ week-on-week with yardings softening 20% week-on-week. NVLX Wodonga was feting the highest premium and contribution at 560¢/kg lwt and 26%.

Sheep

Sheep and lamb indicators across the board have softened week-on-week. Prices in the west have been overall softer than the premiums found in the east.

Merino lambs have softened 44¢ week-on-week as yardings increase by just over 2,000 head. The largest premium on the national average of 830¢/kg cwt was found at Naracoorte, 94¢ above the national average.

Yardings at Dubbo lifted almost 12,000 head to 24,780 head following the small sale last week and more rain in the area. The mixed yarding had some outstanding heavy lambs and secondary lambs pushing the demand and the price. A return in demand from processors – jumping 15% in sales – is improving the prices at this saleyard.

Restocker lambs have softened a further 60¢ this week, reaching the lowest prices seen in over a year at 748.7¢/kg cwt. While premiums are being found in the east at Naracoorte, Forbes and Wagga, Katanning and Muchea in the west are trading at more than 300¢ under the national average.

Slaughter

This week is the first full week for processors across the nation after Queensland had their last public holiday last Monday.

Lamb and sheep slaughter has bounced back after the short weeks, reaching above 2021 levels and hitting their highest rate in two years. This is due to the processing of a backlog of livestock through the processing facilities. Lamb slaughter is up 58,362 head week-on-week, while sheep slaughter has increased 27% week-on-week.

Cattle slaughter, although strengthening by 10,200 head week-on-week, is still down year-on-year after the seasonal dip.

Goat slaughter is the only area that has softened, only reaching 18,598 head this week after recording 24,543 head last week.

Other

This week the Australian dollar has been depreciating against the US dollar, hitting US$0.69 on Wednesday. This could have an impact on the export market as Australian exports become more competitive.

There was no Emerald livestock market held this Thursday or Griffith sale on Friday.

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