STABLE prime cattle prices may be coming to a end with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator slipping nearly 20 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) in the past week.
During the past month the EYCI moved between 528/kg and 534/kg Meat and Livestock Australia reported.
This was the most settled the prime market had been during such a long period since 2016, MLA said.
The market stability highlighted the holding pattern that buyers were in - particularly restockers.
However, the EYCI dipped to 505.25c/kg on Tuesday evening and reflected the diminishing confidence in a substantial break in dry conditions.
AgStock agent Sam Hunter, Yass, said the young cattle market had eased as much as 20c/kg (liveweight) for the top end of the weaners in the past week.
"Two weeks ago the weaners were making 290c/kg to 320c/kg, but last Thursday that fell to 260c/kg to 300c/kg," Mr Hunter said.
"It's really just the lack of confidence in the season that's driving the market at the moment," he said.
"Before last week the market had been pretty stable, but it's getting to the point where people just can't see a break in the season in the near future."
One bright spot was the competition from lot feeders who were still paying about 320c/kg for steers heavy enough to make the entry weight for the feedlots.
"But there's not as many of them (feedlot weight steers) available at the moment as graziers are tending to sell at the lighter weights," Mr Hunter said.
He expected without a break in the dry season there would be plenty more young cattle weighing between 200kg and 260kg on the market in coming weeks.
Across the state, vealer prices dipped 17c/kg to an average of 277c/kg on Tuesday, while yearlings selling to the feeder market were 6c/kg cheaper at 296c/kg.
Yearling steers to the restockers were mostly stable at an average of 267c/kg.
However, there's a big gap in the average pricing when the different regions were compared.
In the north, yearling steers to processors averaged 245c/kg, while in the south of the state the average was closer to 318c/kg. Likewise, the average price gap between the north and the south for vealer steers was about 20c/kg.