Cattle prices ease on higher numbers

James Nason, 20/01/2012

The EYCI has fallen 5pc since peaking at a record 428c before Christmas, but remains at historically high levels as this comparison of EYCI prices for the same day over the past 15 years shows.A 23 percent increase in saleyard yardings across Australia this week has resulted in softer prices for all categories. 

Young cattle in particular have been in abundant supply, boosted by the annual run of weaner calf sales across Victoria and South Australia. The National LIvestock Reporting Service said yearling and vealer cattle had dominated yardings at physical markets across the country in the past week. 

Higher than expected numbers this week and delays in returns to full processing by some plants have been identified as reasons for the easier price trend experienced across all categories over the past seven days.

The benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator has eased by 9.25c/kg cwt in the past week to stand at 404.5c/kg this morning.

It is now 5pc lower than the all-time-high of 428c/kg it reached in the final week of 2011.

That sudden price jump was driven by severe disruptions to supply caused by wet weather and strong competition as buyers sought to secure required stocks prior to the Christmas/New Year break.

MLA chief economist Tim McRae“With the late kick we saw last year, you have to remember that Roma wasn’t in that and you also had some widespread rain which took prices to higher than expected levels to finish the year out,” MLA chief economist Tim McRae said

He attributed the recent softening in the EYCI to a range of factors including larger than expected yardings, as producers sought to get cattle in to capitalise on high prices, and also to beat another round of forecast wet weather disruptions throughout key parts of eastern Australia next week.

“I just think it is a case of producers being keen to get these prices and keen to get some money in the bank, and some processors are just winding back into action – next week is a disrupted week again (due to the Australia Day public holiday on Thursday)."

While the EYCI has come down from last year’s record highs, it remains at historically high levels, as the comparison of EYCI price levels for today’s date over the past 15 years (above) shows.

The NLRS reported on Tuesday that the trade steer indicator was 8c cheaper at 209c/kg,

The heavy steer indicator is at 187c, down by 10c since 2012 sales kicked off, while the medium cow indicator has slipped by 3.5c/kg to 148c.

The feeder steer category fell slightly in the seven days to Tuesday by by 3c to 217c//kg lwt but has held up more strongly than other categories.


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