Yardings and slaughter are up, along with the EYCI, and restockers keep putting their brand on the market, but with a good flush of rainfall over the last week across most districts, plus JBS announcing the shut down of two major processing plants, we’re unlikely to see a repeat of higher volumes next week.
East coast yardings, week on week saw a healthy increase, despite Victoria continuing it’s headlong rush into the abyss, with NSW again taking up the slack. VIC yarding’s fell again, by 25%, to land at levels less than half of a month ago. In contrast, NSW almost doubled, up 85% from the prior week, while QLD and SA backtracked marginally. Overall an 11.7% increase in numbers saw 40,625 cattle yarded on the east coast for the week ending 7th August, which is 35% lower than the same time last year.
Slaughter numbers have stabilised, lifting 3% on the week prior. When we look closer at what the states are doing, there is a bit of a mixed bag of movements. VIC slaughter was almost unchanged from last week, while QLD increased 10%, offset by 7% falls in NSW and a 20% drop in SA. A total of 117,095 cattle were processed, which is down 20% compared to the same time in 2019.
JBS has announced a 2-week minimum shutdown of its Dinmore plant, which, with a 3,400 head daily capacity, is one of the largest beef processing facilities in Australia. JBS has stated that the plant had been suffering losses for a long time this year, citing operations tracking at below 50% capacity since May due to low supply of suitable cattle, coupled with international pricing headwinds and a high Australian dollar, and distortions created by the federal government’s job keeper program. No commitment has been made to reopen, though the plant has been seen to return after a period of closure back in 2014.
Down south, in Victoria, JBS has closed its Brooklyn plant indefinitely due to the Victorian government’s imposition of COVID-19 operating restrictions on meat processing making continued operations untenable till the situation improves.
The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) again displayed stability, only inching up another 0.2% on the prior week, settling at 762¢/kg cwt.
Most categories displayed minor weakness this week, apart from restockers continuing their rise, heavy steers leapt enthusiastically, defying the trend, while vealers returned to a downward slide, backtracking on some of the gains they made last week.
Restockers continued their climb, adding 7¢ (2%), to end the week at 446 ¢/kg lwt, and heavy steers were a surprise performer, spiking 20¢ (5%) to reach up to 378 ¢/kg lwt.
In contrast, processor and feeder steers hesitated, losing 3¢ and 2¢ to respectively settle at 401 ¢/kg lwt and at 390 ¢/kg lwt. Medium steers were relatively steady, at 359 ¢/kg lwt. Medium cows also had a little stumble, shedding 4c to land at 268 ¢/kg lwt.
Vealers couldn’t keep up the momentum of last weeks gains, losing 11¢, to finish at 411 ¢/kg lwt.
On the export front, the 90CL Frozen Cow price has been unfazed by our strong dollar, ambling upward by 6¢ to settle at 677¢/kg. It is, sadly, 4% below the level we saw this time last year. The Aussie dollar displayed stability over the week, barely backtracking a whisker, to settle at 0.716 US.