The cattle market fell into familiar and unwelcome territory this week, with prices for young cattle and cows declining on the back of the ample saleyard offerings, given the recent run of dry weeks and scorching start to spring. This week saw the EYCI drop to its lowest level since early June, at 302.25¢/kg cwt, with plenty of sellers, but few willing buyers.
After the very poor finish to winter for most of NSW, combined with the lack of rain in southern Queensland since autumn, the focus upon the need for rain for the cattle market has expanded with every week that passes by. While the coming week has rain forecast for most of the south eastern corner, those regions that need it the most are only expected to get patchy falls – like the north western quarter of NSW and southern Queensland. Adding to the lack of rain has been the very hot start to spring, along with gusty winds, which have only served to further dry out already parched crops and pastures.
Along with waiting for rain across a large swathe of the nation, the path of the A$ made for some anxious watching this week, as it traded as high as 93US¢. While the A$ is still well below year-ago levels, recent volatility has reportedly increased importer and exporter caution alike – as they wait to see which way the A$ will go.
The lamb market has been less impacted by the lack of rain and warm start to September, largely due to the greater focus in southern NSW, Victoria and SA. However, the very dry conditions across central and northern NSW continue to weigh upon the market, along with the steady growth in the number of new season lambs offered.