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EYCI record climbs as supply tightens

22 October 2020

Key points:

  • Queensland yardings lift in response to a greater number of yearling steers on offer
  • All states record a decline in slaughter
  • Tight supplies and restocker interest continue to support historically high cattle indicators

Prices

Cattle prices continue to track within a historically high range, with all eastern states indicators up significantly on year-ago levels. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) continues to be buoyed by a tight supply pool of available young cattle and heightened restocker competition. On Wednesday 21 October, the EYCI reached a new record to average 799.25¢/kg carcase weight (cwt). Feeder steer prices have also been elevated, tracking up 125¢/kg live weight (lwt) to 416¢/kg lwt. The Heavy Steer and Medium Cow Indicators both lifted 67¢/kg to 374¢/kg and 295¢/kg lwt, respectively.

Supply

Total eastern states yardings saw a modest decline of 10% on year-ago levels to 43,600 head for the week ending 16 October. NSW saw the sharpest contraction in supply, down 20% on year-ago levels to 15,200 head. Victoria followed a similar trend, tracking down 16% year-on-year to 6,600 head. Northern cattle supply, however, was elevated, with Queensland yardings lifting 8% year-on-year to 18,400 head. This was largely driven by an increase in the supply of restocker yearling steers, reported at 5,800 head – the largest group across all categories last week. Supply out of southern markets continues to be impacted by heightened stock retention and positive rainfall outlooks for the remainder of spring. This was evident in total September yardings sitting 20% below the five-year average (110,400 head) at 91,700 head.

Slaughter

Eastern states cattle slaughter tracked down 28% year-on-year to 108,783 head for the week ending 16 October. While Victoria saw the largest year-on-year decline at 39% to 17,200 head, it accounted for only 15% of total eastern states slaughter. Queensland was the main driver of the easing total slaughter trend, declining 31% to 54,500 head and accounting for 50% of total eastern states slaughter. NSW also tracked down 16% to 29,800 head and accounted for 27% of eastern states yardings. Limited availability of slaughter ready cattle and reinvigorated restocker interest continue to drive down slaughter numbers.

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© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2020