“Bigger wet” in the north fails to dampen cattle indicators in 2017

16 February 2017

Highlighted in the latest North of the Tropic Beef Report, above-average rainfall recorded across northern Australia combined with heatwave conditions in south-eastern parts of the country in January, have seen average northern cattle indicators remain dearer  across most categories so far in 2017 – with fluctuating supply levels and a stronger A$ contributing to continued buyer uncertainty.

Compared to the year prior, northern Queensland average weekly yardings declined significantly in January – with lighter offerings at both Emerald and CQLX Gracemere contributing to the decline, while Charters Towers only recommenced this week (15th February). As a result, buyers operated keenly throughout most sections, resulting in some indicators trending close to 50¢/kg lwt dearer year-on-year – with restockers continuing to set the platform in most young cattle markets.  

In January, compared to the same time last year:

  • The Northern Queensland restocker steer indicator averaged 354¢ – up 34¢/kg lwt
  • The Northern Queensland restocker heifer indicator averaged 332¢ – up 49¢/kg lwt
  • The Northern Queensland medium steer indicator averaged 307¢ – up 26¢/kg lwt
  • The Northern Queensland medium cow indicator averaged 238¢ – up 17¢/kg lwt

Although easing this week, North Queensland over-the-hook indicators averaged dearer in January, compared to last year – with all major categories up over 20¢/kg lwt – underpinned by a 25% decline in the average weekly cattle slaughter to 5,251 head.

Already constrained cattle supplies in the north tightened further in some regions throughout January – with substantial rainfall impacting most northern live export indicators. In the first week of February, feeder steer quotes delivered to Darwin remained firm to dearer in places, averaging 378¢, while improved availability in eastern regions resulted in equivalent orders delivered to Townsville easing marginally, to 353¢/kg lwt.

To read the latest North of the Tropic Beef Report, click here.

Also, keep an eye out next week for the first edition of MLA’s LiveLink for 2017.

To subscribe to either of these two reports, email marketinfo@mla.com.au

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