Eastern Cattle Market: Are we looking at more records this season?
“How high can this go?”
This is the question on every livestock stakeholder’s mind this month as the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) reached 950s for the first time since the report’s inception in 1996.
Buoyed by seasonal rain and high demand, buyers pushed the market indicator to the historic high of 951.71c/kg, with producers and processors alike looking for signs that the market has reached a ceiling or if it will continue to climb.
The increase in prices did little to dampen clearance rates, with AuctionPlus reporting over 95pc for the majority of steer and heifer categories. On-the-ground, regional saleyards have also reported new records for young commercial cattle in-line with the rise in demand.
Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) Prime and Store Sale in Gracemere broke the yard’s previous record for commercial heifers by over 113c/kg Wednesday, surging to 655.2c/kg for a line of Brahman heifers from Wowan, Queensland.
Following suit the next day was the Blackall Saleyards, where a run of Droughtmaster steers from the Longreach region reached a yard lightweight record of 654.2c/kg.
So, are we looking at more records this season?
While the recent winter rains have been patchy, many cattle producers in New South Wales and Queensland are in a very different position to the devastating drought conditions of previous years. Buyers under pressure will be keeping an eye on supply leading into spring, which may lead to even more increases in prices at market for quality stock.
With producers may look to take advantage of the highs before prices cool off, although we are yet to see a ‘flooding’ of cattle onto the commercial market this month.
For now, the market is in uncharted territory.
Edit: At close of business on Tuesday 13 July, the EYCI is now at 974.99c/kg
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