Restockers rule – strong demand continues

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Author: David Myers

Whilst those in charge of mowing lawns aren’t happy with this continuous rain – producers with mouths to feed are very happy with the conditions, and it’s showing in the prices paid for cattle in saleyards and online. AuctionsPlus reported “competition is again anticipated to be fierce” in today’s sales (Friday 3rd December, 2021), with a “34% weekly increase in auction participants” last week on their platform, evidence of the strong demand coming from producers at the moment.

 Taking a look at the top saleyards contributing to the Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI), again it was the Roma store sales contributing the most head of cattle (17%) and at the highest average price too, at 1192¢/kg cwt.  Dubbo and Wagga were the next highest contributors at 13 & 11% respectively and average cattle prices were 1082¢/kg cwt in Dubbo and 1101¢/kg cwt in Wagga.

The EYCI is still over the 1,100¢ mark, finishing the week at 1,107¢/kg cwt. Over in the west, the Western Young Cattle Indicator (WYCI) is at 1143¢/kg cwt, with less than 1,500 head the total 7-day rolling average on offer there.

Looking at the National Indicators it was the Restocker Yearling Steers ruling the market again, up 17 cents (2.9%) on the week prior to settle at 728¢/kg lwt. The Medium Steer indicator also rose by 3%, up 15 cents on the week prior, to finish at 505¢/kg lwt. The Feeder & Heavy Steer indicators both lifted by 2% to finish at 562¢/kg lwt and 470¢/kg lwt respectively.

 Meanwhile, Processor Yearling Steers fell 8 cents to 532¢/kg lwt and the Vealer Steer dropped by 6 cents to 633¢/kg lwt.

With grass fever running high and not looking like slowing down in the near to medium term, low yardings & slaughter levels continue to be the norm – keeping upward pressure on prices. Cattle yardings were up 6% for the week ending 26th of November on the week prior, with 41,136 head yarded. This is still 34% below this time last year and 20,000 head below the 5 year average for the same week .

Slaughter levels were also slightly up last week(<1%),  with 93,068 head of cattle sent for processing. Again like yardings, they are well down on last year and the 5 year average. This time last year there was just shy of 110,000 cattle processed and the 5 year average for the same week is 132,000 head of cattle.

The 90CL price is continuing to climb, on the back of big lift in the AUD up 3% on the week prior to 0.737US. The 90CL price increased 10 cents to 874¢/kg swt in AUD terms.

The week ahead

With only a few more weeks to Christmas and subsequent slowdown in yardings and processing, and plenty of green grass about, it’s hard to see a big uptake in cattle numbers heading to the saleyards or for processing. We can expect prices to remain firm as demand looks to remain strong locally and also internationally.