ONGOING extreme hot weather and lack of rain is beginning to take its toll on the store cattle market with MLA’s benchmark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator slipping to levels equal to the beginning of the year.
While still at historically record levels, the EYCI currently stands at 635.75c, dropping to levels not seen since to end of 2016. The EYCI is currently 90c below the 725.75c record high set in August.
Ray White Rural livestock coordinator Bruce Birch said extreme hot weather had dented the enthusiasm of some buyers.
“But the underlying problem remains the shortage to cattle in Australia,” Mr Birch said.
“Even if some buyers are stepping back because of the season, there are still plenty of people who have not bought cattle yet and are willing to step up.
“The better Angus weaners are still making $4/kg. That’s might not be what it was, but it is still pretty good.”
Mr Birch said is was “probably not a bad time to buy” but suggested widespread rain would need to fall before the weaner sales in Northern NSW and Queensland started next month.
Commbank economist Tobin Gorey said there was increasing evidence that cattle producers were making progress towards rebuilding their herds.
“The ABS released cattle slaughter and production data for December,” Mr Gorey said. “The female proportion of Australian cattle slaughter has fallen sharply. In mid‑2016 females accounted for 52 per cent of the total. By last December the females accounted for just 43pc ‑ 3pc below the month’s 10‑year average.”
Mr Birch said the best value buying remained cows and calves.