Australia: Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

Cattle market prices were softer this week after a recovery in yardings from last week, informs Meat & Livestock Australia. Numbers in Queensland lifted by 3,598 head, with this increase largely being attributed to the Dalby sale which strengthened its yarding by 1,381 head week-on-week.

Posted on Mar 04 ,00:05

Australia: Weekly cattle and sheep market wrap

There has been an increase of 16,674 head for Queensland year-to-date, demonstrating the strong supply of cattle coming to marketable weight. Consequently, the increase in numbers has placed pressure on prices as buyers have more livestock to select from and producers look to sell off some of their herd numbers.

The Restocker Yearling Heifer Indicator lifted its throughput this week and continued to soften in price, easing by 20¢. The inflated prices at the end of 2021 and during 2022 could not have been maintained in a market flooded by current supply. In the last few months, buyers have only paid for cattle with good finish and weight.

Dalby had the highest contribution to the indicator, lifting by 319 head week-on-week. This left the Restocker Yearling Heifer at 346.05¢/kg live weight (lwt).

For the first time since January 2021, Eastern States Young Cattle prices fell below Eastern States Trade Lamb prices. This highlights the price correction in the market to retail, as this is generally what supermarket brands are buying.

Trade lamb is at a 24¢ premium compared to cattle.

National trade lamb prices have softened, with a 7% lift in throughput. Wagga Wagga contributed to 21% of the throughput, with prices softening 43¢ at the saleyard.

The demand for heavy lambs with good condition and weight continues as the Heavy Lamb Indicator strengthened 17¢ week-on-week.

The top five contributors, Wagga Wagga, Armidale, Ballarat and Forbes, were all trading at a premium against the national average and made up 63% of the throughput.

Forbes took the largest premium in prices at 830.03¢/kg cwt, 22¢ above the national average and had their total yardings lift by 1,100 head.

Forbes lamb yardings softened with demand for heavy and extra-heavy lambs remaining high.

Lamb yardings at Wagga Wagga lifted and buyers were chasing short-skinned lambs with the softening in the skin market.

Slaughter continues to strengthen for cattle, remaining above 100,000 head. Queensland cattle slaughter lifted 8% with increased supply of slaughter weight animals available in the market.

Sheep slaughter continues to climb, reaching 182,059 head this week. NSW and Tasmania have had large lifts in numbers at 16% and 41% respectively. Lamb slaughter remains steady, only just falling below numbers seen this time last year.

Goat slaughter has held firm in Victoria and lifted slightly in Queensland allowing for total national slaughter to hit 35,798 head.

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