Rain would help cattle prices
Cattle and lamb prices decreased across all categories this week, as the growing need for a spring break has many producers anxiously watching weather forecasts.
With little improvement in overall demand conditions in overseas markets, and an A$ hovering around 103US¢, the ample supply of both lambs and cattle is still putting pressure on livestock prices.
Reflective of the sustained higher supplies in recent months, with substantial numbers heading direct-to-works, the competition for lambs at saleyards is much weaker than in previous years.
The lack of restocker interest has also been felt sharply across the lighter categories, a consequence of the drier conditions and uncertainty as to when the markets will start to regain lost ground, with light lambs (12-18kg cwt) this week averaging 330¢/kg cwt – the lowest weekly price since late November 2008.
Both trade and heavy lambs fell below 350¢/kg cwt for the first time in almost four years this week, as processors also reported their highest throughput numbers for many years.
Interestingly, while the increased production is being accommodated in overseas markets, with exports for October on track to be one of the highest months ever, the value of these shipments has fallen – a combination of the high A$, increased competition from NZ lamb and sluggish consumer demand in several markets.
The benchmark EYCI finished Thursday at 347¢/kg cwt, while trade steers nationally averaged 8¢ lower, at 348¢/kg cwt.
A reduced offering of cattle at Queensland markets contributed to varied prices across the state, with heavy steers increasing 4¢, to 330¢/kg cwt, and larger numbers in NSW saw prices average 17¢ and 21¢ lower for trade and medium steers, respectively.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.