Cattle prices surge to dizzy heights

Eastern Young Cattle Indicator hits 779c/kg

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Demand for young cattle pushes indicator to new highs.

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INTERESTING TIMES: Livestock agent and auctioneer, Joe Wilks of Elders, Wagga.

INTERESTING TIMES: Livestock agent and auctioneer, Joe Wilks of Elders, Wagga.

IN a show of strength the cattle market has continued to surge this week with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator reaching a new high of 779c a kilogram.

The indicator, in fact, increased by two cents later in the week and year on year it paints an interesting picture of the beef cattle industry.

Elders Wagga Livestock agent Joe Wilks said it was certainly a dear market, but he conceded it was difficult to predict exactly where it would go.

Figures from Australia's peak market analysis body, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) quoted the high prices on Thursday and compared the values to 508.75c/kg at this time back in 2019.

"I don't think anyone has the answers (to this market) we just can't believe how good the cattle job is going," Mr Wilks said.

TAKING THE BIDS: Auctioneers Mark Logan and Dan O'Brien of RH Blake and Co, Wagga take the bids during the Wagga cattle market. Picture: Emma Hillier

TAKING THE BIDS: Auctioneers Mark Logan and Dan O'Brien of RH Blake and Co, Wagga take the bids during the Wagga cattle market. Picture: Emma Hillier

The higher prices have hit home in the Riverina and southern NSW too with smaller yardings recorded at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre in the past few weeks.

These smaller numbers have allowed a traditional supply and demand scenario situation to play out with buyers scrambling to fulfill orders.

Meanwhile, Mr Wilks said there was a degree of caution in terms of restockers and their outlay on a purchase.

He said there had to be returns down the track.

In addition to a buoyant cattle market producers in southern NSW and throughout the Riverina have enjoyed widespread rain.

The rain, during the past two weeks, has helped to boost winter crops and pastures.

"People are welcoming this rain, it has been great and the best thing is, it is widespread," Mr Wilks said.

"Everyone is getting it (rain)," he said.

Data from MLA attributes the high prices to the rain in southern NSW.

And at a time when prices surged the slaughter rates in the eastern states recorded a 30 per cent decline in numbers from the previous year. A total of 97,000 head were slaughtered.

The low total turnover was was attributed to reduced processing capacity and tightening of of supply.

However, in NSW the turnoff actually increased by eight per cent to 31,000 head. This was in contrast to Victoria where it eased by 27 per cent.

Good rainfall in recent days has sustained the strong restocker intent from southern states.

Combined with the low availability of young cattle, the store market has continued to gain momentum, moving into record territory this week.

Strong southern restocker demand for northern store cattle has underpinned the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) hitting a record 776/kg carcase weight (cwt) on Wednesday 19 August, up 17.5 on the week prior.

The majority of Queensland yardings increased significantly, with yearling and vealer saleyard throughput experiencing the largest increases. Roma yardings lifted 50 per cent on last week to 5850 head.

Despite the lift in yardings, prices found support with 0-200kg yearling steers and heifers up 28 and 75, respectively, with both averaging 487/kg live weight (lwt).

The draw for the Wagga cattle market on Monday shows a total of 2065 head will go under the hammer.

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The story Cattle prices surge to dizzy heights first appeared on The Rural.

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