The market wins on a huge handicap

The number of slaughters remained relatively stable at 6% above last year’s levels, with slaughter figures for the week ending the 5e August 2022 falling only 1% to 89,195 heads (Figure 1). However, among the states, there was a bit of a shake-up, with the QLD numbers dropping 2.5%, while the VIC rose 3%.

EYCI-eligible skidding fell 32% this week to 6,071 head, and it should be noted that this is the lowest volume recorded in the last two months by a margin of 20%; even including weeks when bad weather prevented stocks from major QLD and NSW selling yards in early July. Across specifications, eligible hauls are down, with replenisher counts down 33% and feed volumes down 24% week over week. It is not isolated for young cattle either, with cow volumes of just 1,052 head – more than 70% below the peak seen in late July, when price falls were steepest.

Are skids this low, even remotely, normal for this time of year? Looking at Figure 2, we can see that last week’s volume of 27,688 head is 36% lower than last year and this type of decline is certainly not in line with normal seasonal patterns. We can only conclude that growers, unimpressed with recent downward price trends, are out of the market. However, this is not sustainable in the long term.

EYCI is significantly benefiting from the tight supply environment and jumped 44¢ (5%) to close the week at 962¢/kg cwt. Dalby averaged 966¢/kg quintal, Roma 956¢/kg and Dubo 949¢/kg quintal. Wagga prices stood out at an average of 1012¢/kg, with veal steers trading there at 1059¢/kg.

In the west, there was no joy, with a 58% increase in skidding week over week to 302 head doing the index a disservice, knocking the WYCI down 50 (5%), to close at 871¢/kg cwt; with the normally premium spec of the vealer visibly struggling. The price for vealer heifers, at 821¢/kg, was 21¢ below the price for yearling heifers. Market activity was evenly split between feedlots and resuppliers.

National cattle indicators were all green this week, with the weekly best performer going to heavy steers, which gained 15%, to close at 459¢/kg lwt (albeit on 104 head volume) followed by steer replenishment, which increased 8% to end at 594¢/kg lwt. The wooden spoon went to processing steers and calves, which only managed a 1% increase over the previous week.

The US 90CL frozen cow price fell 3¢ (

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