Queensland OTH cattle indicators heat up in February

07 February 2017

This week (6th February), Queensland over-the-hook cattle indicators averaged close to 20¢/kg cwt higher on what was recorded last week – as buyer confidence and short supply continue to push average prices higher.  

After remaining relatively unchanged since the Christmas break, the majority of contributors lifted quotes 10¢ to 20¢/kg cwt this week – underpinned by the shortage of slaughter suitable cattle across some major northern supply regions, along with continued enthusiasm rail-side in the physical market.

When compared to the same time last year, Queensland over-the-hook cattle indicators averaged over 45¢ higher in the first week of February across most major categories – and some MSA accredited categories upwards of 65¢/kg cwt dearer year-on-year.

This week, the trade (240-260kg, A-C muscle)and heavy (300-400kg, A-C muscle) steer indicators averaged 546¢ and 556¢, respectively – up 46¢ year-on-year. The medium cow (260-280kg, A-E muscle) indicator lifted 35¢ from year-ago levels, to 476¢/kg cwt.

It has been reported that keen buyer activity in the physical market has also contributed to higher average prices so far this year – with export processors setting a solid platform for grown steer and cow categories in recent weeks. Last week at Dalby, heavy C4 grown steers to slaughter reached a top of 324¢, and averaged 310¢, while heavy D4 cows to slaughter averaged 256¢/kg lwt. Similarly, heavy cows to processors at Roma Store reached 270¢, averaging 258¢/kg lwt overall.

Last week (ending 3rd February), Queensland cattle slaughter finished 23% lower when compared to the same time last year, with just over 52,200 head processed – reflective of the tighter availability at present. However, the return of one processing plant back to works last week contributed to a 15% lift in slaughter across the state, compared to the week prior. 

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