The domestic cow market has found support in recent weeks with significant increases across both saleyard and over-the-hooks indicators that pushed the market into record territory in some states.
Meat & Livestock Australia is attributing the better prices to favourable seasonal conditions in the southern states, which have led producers to retain breeding stock, tightening supplies.
The National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) recorded only 6500 head of cows yarded across NSW, Queensland and Victoria for the week ending 9 October, MLA reported.
Compared to the same week last year, this equated to a 30 per cent decline, largely reflecting heightened levels of stock retention, with fewer cows entering the store market.
"For the week ending 16 October, the Queensland OTH Medium Cow Indicator averaged 545/kg carcase weight (cwt), 23pc higher on year-ago levels and a record high for the state," MLA reported.
"The Queensland OTH Heavy Cow Indicator also reported a record high, increasing 22pc year-on-year to average 570/kg cwt.
"Last week, the store market reflected price increases seen in OTH indicators, with the Queensland Medium Cow Saleyard Indicator averaging 588/kg cwt, 33pc higher year-on-year.
"While trading slightly below their northern counterpart, for the week ending 16 October, the NSW OTH Medium Cow Indicator was reported at a record 532/kg cwt, 24pc above year-ago levels, while heavy cows increased 21pc year-on-year to average 558/kg cwt."
Livestock agents are also reporting strengthening competition between restockers and processors which has also supported saleyard prices across the eastern states.
MLA reported that the Eastern States Medium Cow Indicator was sitting at 296/kg live weight (lwt), on Wednesday 14 October, an increase of 71 on the same week last year.
Victoria reported the largest year-on-year increase in medium cow prices, lifting 83 to average 301/kg lwt, while NSW medium cows increased 77 to 299/kg lwt.
Queensland medium cows were reported slightly below the southern states, however, increased 74 year-on-year to average 291/kg lwt.