The export cattle market has the COVID-19 wobble and slipped back to early June prices this week, while the trade market keeps shuffling along nicely, according to Wellington agent Ross Plasto of Plasto and Company who sells through the Dubbo saleyards.
"The trade market or butcher's cattle up to 450 kilograms (liveweight) is hanging in with pretty good supply to the domestic market," Mr Plasto said.
"Butchers actually are doing better than the food service industry at present as it suffers the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.
"But export cattle have definitely been softer these past couple of weeks."
The Eastern Young Cattle Market Indicator (EYCI) dropped to 743 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) and was 5c/kg less than the prior week. But that drop would amount to one bid, according to Mr Plasto.
Nutrien Wagga Wagga livestock manager Peter Cabot said while the export market had softened a little, it was still quite good at Wagga's sale on Monday among the 3000 head yarding.
"Buyers are finding conditions excellent at present and yardings are normally 2800 to 3000 head in winter and the cattle are heavy," he said.
"The big pens of cows are weighing up to 700kg a head and all cattle are in good order."
Mr Cabot said the selling centre was no longer receiving Monaro cattle, so the pens were being filled mainly by Riverina stock, mostly coming off crop.
But where the COVID-19 pandemic took exports, he said was pretty concerning.
"Who knows what's happening with the overseas markets, but domestically, as long as abattoirs stay open you'd think this market should be reasonably good," Mr Cabot siad.
In Tamworth, Elders branch manager and local livestock selling agents president Jon Goudge, said the situation was probably the same.
"We are still seeing good demand for those good lines of younger cattle and store cows on Monday topped the market cents a kilogram, coming back at 314c/kg , weighing about 340kg," he said.
"My feeling is cows are the best buying at present. They're worth a bit of coin, but you can do a bit more with a cow than a steer."