Rainfall boosts northern cattle markets in August

20 September 2016

Highlighted in MLA’s latest North of the Tropic Beef Report, ‘above-average’ rainfall across most major northern producing regions in August continued to support cattle indicators throughout the month. Furthermore, the BOM’s (Bureau of Meteorology) spring rainfall outlook points towards ‘above-average’ rainfall for much of northern Australia for the September to November period.

In the physical market, some categories continued to surpass the records reached the month prior – with restocker and feeder demand for younger lines remaining particularly strong in August. A seasonal lift in supply throughout the latter weeks of the month, however, resulted in mixed trends, with subdued processor and live-export activity at some markets.

Despite the lift in supply, most saleyard indicators in August were dearer than the month prior:

  • The north Queensland saleyard restocker steer indicator averaged 11¢ higher – at 356¢/kg lwt
  • The north Queensland saleyard light steer indicator averaged 24¢ dearer – at 338¢/kg lwt
  • The north Queensland saleyard medium cow indicator averaged 2¢ lower – at 243¢/kg lwt

In August, direct-to-work indicators were mostly unchanged month-on-month, with scattered rainfall resulting in restricted access to cattle in some regions and lower slaughter levels. This week (week ending 23 September), however, compared to the same time last year:

  • The north Queensland over-the-hook trade steer indicator averaged 549¢ – up 9¢/kg cwt
  • The north Queensland over-the-hook heavy steer indicator averaged 559¢ – up 10¢/kg cwt
  • The north Queensland over-the-hook medium cow indicator averaged 488¢ – down 17¢/kg cwt

Outlined in BOM’s latest spring rainfall outlook, an earlier than expected start to the northern wet season is forecast, and along with tighter cattle availability, will likely continue to support the market over the coming months.  

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

Additionally, to subscribe to the report, email marketinfo@mla.com.au

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