Eastern grids, saleyard prices ease

17 March 2016

Both processor grids and saleyard prices eased throughout the eastern states this week, with the A$ lifting to a nine month high and some weakness in US imported lean beef demand. Limited rainfall did little to support restocker demand, despite some good falls across the Queensland gulf regions.

Throughout the eastern states, the over-the-hook indicators were mostly back 4¢–14¢/kg cwt week-on-week. However, a decline in grids, particularly in Queensland, is not uncommon this time of year. Over the past five years, the Queensland over-the-hook indicators in March have averaged 2-4% below where they started the year and continued to decline before reaching a low in June or July. The decline, however, is less common in southern grids, with the onset of autumn and winter rain tightening supplies.

  • The Queensland over-the-hook trade steer indicator declined 11¢/kg week-on-week, to 497¢/kg cwt
  • The 100-day Queensland grainfed steer indicator eased 13¢/kg cwt, to 522¢/kg cwt
  • The NSW trade steer indicator was back 4¢, to 509¢/kg cwt
  • The Victorian trade steer indicator was steady, to 528¢, but the medium cow indicator was back 4¢, at 425¢/kg cwt

The decline coincided with a greater number of slaughter cattle coming through the system. Across the eastern states, adult cattle slaughter increased 2% last week, to 143,546 head – the highest weekly slaughter so far this year, but still 14% below year ago levels. By state:

  • Queensland adult cattle slaughter increased 2% week-on-week, to 68,051 head
  • NSW was up 4%, at 34,259 head
  • Victoria increased 1%, to 28,245 head
  • SA gained 1%, at 8,185 head
  • Tasmania was up 1%, at 4,806 head

Many selling centres also recorded a fall this week, with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) finishing Thursday at 587.25¢/kg cwt, back 5.50¢/kg cwt week-on-week. EYCI eligible cattle in Queensland averaged 591¢/kg cwt, back 14¢/kg cwt week-on-week, underpinned by a 15¢/kg cwt drop at Roma Store, which had its largest yarding since October 2015. EYCI eligible cattle in NSW eased 4¢/kg cwt, at 587¢/kg cwt, while similar lines in Victoria improved 2¢/kg cwt, to 566/kg cwt.

The Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) bucked the eastern trend, finishing at 613¢/kg on Tuesday, up 10¢/kg cwt week-on-week.

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