Limited follow-up rain after widespread falls last week saw national cattle throughput jump, as the increasing likelihood of yet another fruitless northern wet season weighs on the minds of northern producers. Similarly, in the southern sheep growing regions, the supply of slaughter ready lambs remains ample, albeit with some areas starting to register improved seasonal conditions after a wet start to March.
Robust trade and heavy weight lamb supply at saleyards was matched by strong demand for trade and heavy lambs, with the largest jump evident in heavy lambs – up 10¢, to average 584¢/kg cwt at the close of Thursday’s markets. Although most regions are still feeling the effect of the dry past 18 months, the recent rain that passed through may have tightened eastern states sheep supply, with all states yarding fewer numbers. Met with solid processor demand, mutton prices have spiked in recent weeks, up 29¢ this week, averaging 318¢/kg cwt.
Demonstrating the impact of isolated rain on local cattle markets, the EYCI finished this week on 312¢/kg cwt, with a huge price spread for eligible cattle, particularly in NSW. For example, EYCI cattle at Casino this week averaged 260¢/kg cwt, while at CTLX, the price was 352¢/kg cwt. Similarly, there was also a large spread in Queensland, with Roma averaging 314¢/kg cwt, while Dalby averaged 276¢/kg cwt.
Underpinned by the limited follow-up rainfall, indicative weekly eastern states cattle slaughter reached record levels for the fifth consecutive week, at 169,134 head – 23% higher than the corresponding week last year. Similarly, goat and mutton slaughter reached 26,761 head and 194,809 head, up 12% and 23% year-on-year, respectively, while lamb slaughter remained firm, on 354,098 head.