More rain rockets EYCI up to 494 cents

EYCI rockets up to 471.75 cents as more rain brings hope to cattle producers


Beef
LONGREACH SMILES: Tim Salter, Elders manager at Longreach, helped AACo offload about 5800 composite steers last Friday from its parched Barkly station, Brunette Downs. Landmark is scheduled to sell 2500 steers from the Barkly at Longreach this Friday.

LONGREACH SMILES: Tim Salter, Elders manager at Longreach, helped AACo offload about 5800 composite steers last Friday from its parched Barkly station, Brunette Downs. Landmark is scheduled to sell 2500 steers from the Barkly at Longreach this Friday.

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More rain across wide areas of NSW and Queensland have provided a much needed boost to cattle producers and stemmed the flow of breeding females to slaughter.

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The benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has continued its welcome rebound, rising to 494c a kg by Thursday night and is now close to breaking back through the 500c barrier.

Restocker interest has been rekindled by significant but patchy rains across large areas of NSW, Queensland and the Top End in the past few weeks, raising hopes of more falls during autumn.

The EYCI hit a 385c rock bottom on March 8, sending shivers through many cattle producers struggling to retain core breeding cows in the face of devastating drought.

NAB Agribusiness, in its latest commodity forecasts, has tipped the EYCI will hover around 425c in the second quarter of 2019. But its actual level will depend on rainfall in coming weeks. 

"The EYCI dropped to 385c/kg in early March but has since returned to above 440c/kg," NAB Agribusiness, Phin Ziebell, said.

"More autumn rain would see elevated restocker demand and we see the EYCI sitting around 425c a kg in the second quarter of 2019 before recovering to around 500c a kg by the first quarter of 2020," he said.

While Cyclone Trevor didn't live up to early predictions of a major rain dump across the parched Barkly region and outback Queensland, enough pockets of country have received enough rain to spark restocker interest.

The rain has also helped stem the flow of cattle intro saleyards which has added much needed pressure on prices.

For example, for the week ending March 19 yardings of EYCI eligible cattle totalled 8777 head compared with 19,106 the previous week.

More rain will tighten supply further as producers look to stabilise their herd numbers.

January's national slaughter data highlighted the pain meat processors will face once the drought has broken.

Feed and water shortages saw the sell-off cut further into core breeding females which will seriously hamper herd rebuilding down the track.

In January the adult cattle slaughter reached 584,000 head, up nine per cent year-on-year with the female kill up 27pc year-on-year and 55pc above January 2017, MLA data intelligence analyst, Alex McIntosh, said..

The drought-induced liquidation of female cattle in recent months has been at its highest level since the late 1990s.

The biggest year-on-year increase in female slaughter occurred in Victoria (up 22,000 to 87,000 head), while NSW (up 17,000 to 68,000 head) and Queensland (up 14,000 to 102,000 head) also recorded big rises, he said.

As a result Australia's total beef exports jumped 11pc compared with the same month last year to 94,900 tonnes.

Exports to China jumped 65pc year-on-year to 19,097 which was just shy of shipments to the United States which rose 15pc to 19,864.

Japan remained our biggest beef market with total exports of 23,423 tonnes in February.

Meanwhile, mega cattle producer, AACo, was a beneficiary of the rebound in the market when it offloaded 5800 composite steers at Longreach in central west Queensland last Friday.

Elders manager at Longreach, Tim Salter, was delighted with the result with the steers averaging $766 a head.

The steers were trucked from AACo's parched Brunette Downs station in the Barkly.

Mr Salter said two major feedlot backgrounders from the Darling Downs region (which has received good rain) waded into the offering along with another big buyer with rain-soaked property at Boulia.

Mr Salter said some areas south of Longreach had received 200mm on Monday night, courtesy of the remnants of cyclone Trevor, which had raised hopes of a wider break in the weather in the next few weeks.

Australian Green Properties is scheduled to offload 2500 steers from the Barkly at Longreach this Friday.

The story More rain rockets EYCI up to 494 cents first appeared on Farm Online.

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