Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) produce the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) on a daily basis.
Using all markets they report on the eastern seaboard, all C2 & C3 young cattle from 280-520c/kgs lwt, from all centres, make up the EYCI.
During the earlier part of 2017, the EYCI dropped from its very dizzying heights of over 700c, to around 530c/kg cwt.
The quieter times during winter saw the EYCI creep back, and today, remains in the high 570c/kg range.
Analysing market reports from this week, saw prices fall another 10-15 cents for many cattle filling the EYCI criteria.
So, why is the EYCI so high, when suitable steers are averaging below 500c/kg cwt at fat sales?
Because the EYCI also includes steers fitting the EYCI criteria that are purchased by restockers and feedlots.
While feedlot buyers are being very cautious, many cattle purchased to return to the paddock are selling very well.
At Wagga Wagga, Monday, 95 per cent of the yearling steers went to feedlots and restockers.
This market supplied 48pc of Monday’s EYCI calculatiuons, at 563c/kg.
Further north, Tamworth, 577c, and Toowoomba at 584c/kg, were the two highest of the day, while Pakenham and Ballarat supplied only a few head to the day’s tally, and at 498c/kg cwt.
That pretty much tells the story. Most processor purchases of yearling steers were between 260&280c with only a very few top quality steers making over 300c/kg. Yearling heifers sold for even less money with most making from 250-265c/kg. Cheap meat!
Wodonga agents offered a cracking yarding of vealers, and prices between 290&323c for the best calves was quoted 3c/kg dearer on average. In the south and west of Victoria, the vealer run has yet to commence, and may get to 2016 levels, as many have gone out of growing vealers.
Prime steers and bullocks were hardest hit by processor disinterest, selling 10-12c/kg lower from 260-275c/kg for most.
It has taken all year, but prices in Queensland are now higher for bullocks, than Victoria, which produces the larger percentage of prime bullocks.
Most Victorian processors are not working to capacity, are this situation is not likely to change just 5 weeks out from Christmas.
Reports from most cow sales were negative, which saw many good quality beef cows sell between 215&240c with only isolated sales higher. Both Shepparton and Pakenham recorded top prices of 256 & 258c/kg respectively.
However, this was not normal. Dairy cows sold mostly from 172-220c/kg lwt.