THE Eastern Young Cattle Indicator climbed another 11 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) in the past week to hit a record-breaking 1075.81c/kg on Tuesday evening.
Restockers with plenty of pasture were behind the new surge in prices at saleyards right across NSW and into Queensland. Restockers buying EYCI-eligible cattle paid an average of 1172c/kg, compared with feedlots which spent 1026c/kg on Tuesday.
The lift in the EYCI started last week when it bounced 30c/kg to hit 1068c/kg last Friday.
And in an unusual trend, the higher EYCI has correlated with bigger yardings, leaving no doubt as to the strength of demand for cattle.
Numbers swelled to 4900 head at Dubbo prime sale last Thursday.
CPS Thomas Ballhausen and Irvine agent Sam Christensen, Dubbo, said it was one of the best markets he'd seen.
"From start to finish, it didn't miss a beat," he said.
"A fortnight ago we yarded 2500 cattle and then we got rain, and that really made the market kick."
Weaners were strong and he said young steers to the restockers sold from 600c/kg (liveweight) to 815c/kg, and heifers made 475c/kg to 780c/kg. Young calves to the restockers sold to 900c/kg.
Mr Christensen said it was a "grass market at play".
"That restocker category is driven by producers just wanting to put cattle on grass," he said.
"Not only are locals trying to secure cattle, but there are orders coming in from the north, south and east.
"That outside influence is also pushing prices."
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Nutrien agent Chris Dobie, Scone, said that often the local saleyards would receive an influx of weightier cattle or cattle off crop at this time of year. With traditional spring calving, they would ordinarily receive weaners through the autumn.
But it's been no ordinary year. Mr Dobie said producers were calving at irregular times, creating a year-round supply of weaners.
"For the past six weeks it's been very strong," he said.
"On Tuesday it was probably firm, but in previous weeks it's risen 10c/kg across each of the categories of young cattle.
"Lighter Angus steers made up to 800c/kg, while little crossbreds fetched around 700c/kg and weaner heifers less than 200kg made up to 732c/kg.
"The feeder cattle were also quite strong."
Bailey Livestock agent Zac Ede, Singleton, said younger cattle were also in good supply in the Lower Hunter, with many the progeny of first-calvers.
He said there had not been a big bulk of feed through the winter, but the region had entered into a good season in the past six weeks.
He said the condition of cattle in the past month had been very good, and was only set to improve.
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