Cattle sales were thin and far between this week, with only a few saleyards operating. The fire at Thomas Foods International (TFI) won’t have as big an impact on cattle as it will on sheep, but we’ve already seen reports of weaker prices in the face of the uncertainty.
With total slaughter back so far from the highs of the first half of 2016, TFI are likely to get their cattle slaughtered elsewhere to continue to supply customers. Basically, it seems unlikely that the cattle which now can’t be killed at TFI are going to flood into other markets and depress prices in general. For those selling cattle at weaner sales in Victoria the timing of the fire is not great. Uncertainty has been blamed in one report for weaners making 10-20c less than pre-Christmas sales. Still, prices of 300-335¢/kg cwt for 350kg calves is still good money.