Eastern states cattle indicators drift lower again

03 November 2016

A relatively dry week across most of the eastern states resulted in the number of cattle on the market edging higher, and the outcome was a further decline for most of the indicators.

Of particular note was the general rise in yearling cattle offered, with the most prominent rises at Dalby and Toowoomba, although these are usual for this time of the year.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) eased 6.75¢ from the previous week, to close Thursday at 658.75¢/kg cwt. It should be noted though that the Indicator is still 84.75¢/kg cwt above where it was the same time last year and very much in the realms of record territory.

Similarly, at the heavier end of the market, the national heavy steer indicator eased 16¢, to close the week at 552¢/kg cwt.

On the processing front, the number of cattle slaughtered over the past month has progressively increased, with slaughter last week in excess of 130,000 head for the first time in 15 weeks. The flow on effect will more than likely be a slight increase in beef and veal exports from what occurred during September and October, but the constraints will continue to be much lower cattle slaughter than the year before, a slightly stronger A$ and greater competition from the other major beef exporters in China, Korea, Japan and the US.

After declining during October, Queensland over-the-hook cattle indicators eased slightly again this week, with many of the yearling and grown steer categories back a further 3-4¢/kg cwt.

The weeks ahead will continue to be dictated by the drier, warmer weather across much of the country, and potentially see the number of cattle processed during November remain at similar levels to this week – compensating for the 15 weeks of extremely low kills. However, as has been the case in the past, numbers offered tend to decline from the middle of November and through December, which if eventuates should support the cattle market through to the end of the year.

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