Livestock markets across the eastern states finished the week higher for most categories, as rainfall reduced numbers and lifted sentiment. The benchmark EYCI finished the week 8.25¢ higher, closing Thursday markets at 309.5¢/kg cwt, with cows edging 7¢ higher, to 267¢/kg cwt.
The national lamb and sheep market was slightly dearer this week, especially for heavy lambs and mutton, which averaged 411¢/kg cwt and 207¢/kg cwt, respectively. The contrast between the seasonal conditions in southern and northern regions continues to draw a clear distinction between markets, with reports of large lines of northern cattle heading into southern markets in an attempt to capitalise on stronger restocker demand. While many southern producers will be anxiously watching rainfall forecasts with harvesting in mind, overall pasture and water conditions are reportedly favourable and shaping up well heading into summer – especially when compared to the northern markets.
With some regions of Queensland and northern NSW recording their first (patchy) rainfall for several months in the past week, many producers will be hoping the recent unstable conditions signal a change of rainfall fortunes as summer nears. The forecast for the coming week also points to widespread falls through northern and eastern Queensland – which, if they eventuate, should consolidate the recent storm activity.
Given the sustained increase in cattle turnoff over the past year through drought withered regions of Queensland and NSW – a significant contraction in supply upon the first widespread falls of the wet season is almost a given. While forecasts indicate the potential for widespread falls in coming weeks, it is not until big totals are recorded across a wide region that the expected supply contraction will come to fruition.