The Australian Bureau of Meteorology released their three month rainfall outlook this week for the February to April period, which due to the neutral outlook, provides little direction heading into the second half of the wet season.
While central west Queensland has a slightly greater chance of exceeding mean rainfall for the period, it will take a timely deluge, with adequate follow-up falls before the peak pasture growing season ends, to have any lasting impact on cattle markets.
Similarly, in the dominant southern sheep producing regions of the country, such as the Riverina and western Victoria, the likelihood of better than average rainfall for the three month period is slightly below neutral – which could see a continued run of the hot and dry conditions.
More immediately, rain is forecast across large swathes of NSW on Friday and into Queensland over the weekend, which resulted in reduced yardings late in the week. However, despite this, prices still eased, with the EYCI finishing Thursday’s markets on 281.25¢/kg cwt, after dipping to similar levels to the low of 2013 earlier in the week. Cows also sold to limited interest, with the national medium cow indicator dipping to 209¢/kg cwt.
Similarly, the sheep indicators started the week trending cheaper, before turning around on the prospect of rain at the weekend. The national heavy lamb indicator finished Thursday’s markets on 441¢/kg cwt, up 17¢, while light lambs were 380¢/kg cwt, up 11¢ for the week.
With an A$ trading below 90US¢, the export outlook remains positive – albeit overshadowed by the extent and depth of the drought conditions.