Cattle update – May 2022 - Elders Rural Services

Cattle update – May 2022

At a glance

  • Cattle prices soften slightly but remain well above levels a year ago.
  • Demand for female cattle remains high in Victoria buoyed by favourable seasonal conditions, long term confidence and the strength of the weaner market.
  • Queensland cattle prices ease, sending a strong market signal as supply moves higher, however the decline is expected to be short lived.


Market fundamentals

National trade steer prices eased slightly in April, down 2.2 per cent (pc), however prices are holding at a healthy premium on levels a year ago. Medium steer prices recorded a larger decline of 6.1 pc bringing prices back to just 5 pc above year ago levels.

At a state level, Victoria recorded a decline of 13 pc compared to last month, as supply increased, however prices remain above the two-year average. Smaller declines were felt across the country, with New South Wales being the exception, recording a 2.7 pc increase to put current prices 21 pc above levels a year ago.

The Elders Weather outlook forecasts multiple cold fronts across southern and eastern Australia from 10 to 14 and 24 to 28 May. Rain events from the tropics have the potential to move south and generate rain from the 5 May. The cold fronts are expected to bring widespread rain. In Western Australia (WA), the strongest cold fronts will start from 9 to 13 and again from 24 to 28 May.

Graph showing national-trade-steer-indicator-may2022
Graph showing national trade steer prices eased slightly in April.

From the field

Victoria and Riverina

“Weaner sales are approaching the end of the selling period with some spring drop weaners still to sell through May. Overall, the performance at weaner sales over the past few months has been very strong especially for quality featured lines of cattle.

“The female cattle market remains buoyant driven by long term confidence, good seasonal conditions and strength in weaner prices carrying over to breeding stock. Increased interest in the past two to three months saw prices for breeding females with calves at foot sell for up to $5,500.

“From a seasonal conditions perspective most regions except for areas in the far south have had something that has resembled an autumn break in the past week with more rain forecast.

“Feature weaner sales early in May will centre around north-east Victoria in Barnawartha, Euroa and Yea.” – Matt Tinkler, Elders Livestock Manager, Victoria and Riverina.


“Both feeder and store cattle prices have slipped in past weeks driven by an increase in supply on the domestic market, amplified by lower levels of live export demand.

“Historically, the price difference between flat back and Brahman cattle floats between 10-30c/kg however the difference has been much higher recently, as much as 70c/kg sending a strong signal to the market.

“The decline in price is expected to impact markets over the short term, however a run of short weeks and significant rainfall in grazing regions in Northern and Central Queensland could see supply and demand re-balance as producers look to keep cattle on feed.” – Paul Holm, Elders Livestock Manager, Queensland.

Market indicators

Table showing trade steers and medium steer prices over time.

Note: States without sufficient data for the current month or without data for a specific stock category will not appear in the table.

Sources: Price data reproduced courtesy of Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

The information contained in this article is given for the purpose of providing general information only, and while Elders has exercised reasonable care, skill and diligence in its preparation, many factors (including environmental and seasonal) can impact its accuracy and currency. Accordingly, the information should not be relied upon under any circumstances and Elders assumes no liability for any loss consequently suffered. If you would like to speak to someone for tailored advice relating to any of the matters referred to in this article, please contact Elders.

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