Trade steers break through 600¢/kg cwt to outprice lamb

05 August 2015


While lamb prices are tracking well above the long term average, the recent surge in cattle the market has seen some indicators average above their lamb counterparts.

In particular, the national saleyard trade steer indicator* this week has averaged 332¢/kg lwt or 613¢/kg cwt. With the national saleyard trade lamb indicator** tracking at 586¢/kg cwt, this is the first time since the end of 2012 cattle have outpriced lambs. In fact, as illustrated in Figure 1, the crossover in 2012 was relatively short lived and cattle and lamb prices have generally diverged since 2007.

Trade-steer-and-lamb-inds.bmp

Furthermore, comparing the current trade steer indicator to historical values, current prices in real terms (removing the effects on inflation) are the highest they have been in about 35 years (for the full report on real cattle prices, please click here).

The rapid rise in cattle prices is being witnessed across store and finished categories, with all major indicators hitting record highs in nominal terms.

The dearest trade steers this week have been in Victoria (636¢/kg cwt), followed by NSW (614¢/kg cwt) and SA (593¢/kg cwt). With most young cattle through Queensland saleyards going to feeder and restocker orders, few trade steers were recorded, but those that were averaged 505¢/kg cwt.

The saleyard heavy grown steer indicator in Victoria averaged 647¢/kg cwt this week and in NSW it averaged 611¢/kg cwt. With the heavy grown steer indicator in Queensland averaging 499¢/kg cwt, the national indicator this week settled on 578¢/kg cwt.

So far this week, young cattle markets have also continued to rise, with EYCI eligible cattle at Wagga, CTLX, NVLX, Shepparton and Finley all averaging above 600¢/kg cwt and many other markets just shy of that.

For the full list of saleyard cattle market reports, please click here.

*The trade steer indicator includes 330-400kg live weight C3 yearling steers purchased by processors.

**The trade lamb indicator includes 18-22kg carcase weight 2-4 fat score non-Merino lambs. Both indicators represent animals suited for the domestic market.

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