After a bumper year for the NSW prime cattle market in 2016, the market during the past 12 months had plenty to live up to.
While prices did not match the highs of 2016, there were still huge positives to take from the market in NSW this year, with records broken and a strong finish providing optimism to a thriving industry.
Beginning the year at 636.75 cents a kilogram (carcase weight), the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) peaked at 668c/kg in mid April and reached a low of 505.5c/kg at the end of September.
After a slow start the number of cattle being consigned to slaughter eventually surpassed year-ago levels in July and has remained above since.
Slaughter of adult cattle in NSW in 2016 totalled about 1.6 million in 2017 to September, adult slaughter reached 1.18 million according to Meat and Livestock Australia reports.
The number of females slaughtered in NSW was 47 per cent, with the herd rebuild continuing.
Numbers on Feed
During March records fell as cattle on feed increased almost 81,000 head or eight per cent nationwide from the December quarter, to a record 1.016 million head, according to the Australian Lot Feeders Association/MLA lot feeding survey.
In 2016, cattle numbers on feed in NSW equaled 278,358, by June 2017 this number had risen to 333,788 head. Numbers on feed in NSW bounced 36pc on the September quarter five-year average, to 329,000 head.
MLA market intelligence manager, Scott Tolmie said high numbers on feed had led to rises in carcass weights.
“Three quarters of more than one million head of cattle on feed and a low proportion of females making up cattle slaughter resulted in record carcass weights. The national average carcass weight hit a record monthly high in April of 299.2kg, and has averaged 296.4kg for the year to September.”
Cattle yardings across NSW totalled 958,508 in 2016. This year to date 923,990 head have been yarded at saleyards across the state. Dubbo saleyard recorded the highest throughput in the state, with 199,431 head yarded. Wagga Wagga and Carcoar saleyards were ranked second and third.