After widespread rainfall saw offerings decline and the cattle market jump considerably last week, many producers opted to hold off selling stock again this week, and the subsequent tighter supplies underpinned a second week with considerable price rises.
The EYCI, for the first time in over 12 months, was higher year-on-year, finishing the week on 344.75¢/kg cwt, up 23¢ over the course of the week. Improving at a similar rate and indicating the anticipated strong interest for females once the drought breaks, the medium cow indicator lifted 10¢ this week, to close Thursday’s markets on 135¢/kg cwt.
On the export front, beef and veal volumes reached another monthly record in March, which is little surprise, given the preceding weeks, when five consecutive weeks of record eastern states slaughter levels were registered. With cattle markets having improved significantly over the past two weeks, particularly across Queensland and northern NSW, producers will be keeping a close eye on markets and feed availability while making winter stocking decisions. Rainfall over the next few weeks will be crucial for how the winter unfolds, particularly before the pasture growing season completely ceases in the north.
Sheep and lamb markets were a bit cheaper last week, and in response, national lamb and sheep offerings eased slightly this week, assisting a market recovery. Restocker lambs gained 47¢, to finish the week on 525¢/kg cwt, while the mutton indicator jumped 31¢, finishing on 354¢/kg cwt.
Lamb exports also surged during March, with large volumes again directed to the US, China and the Middle East.