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Thursday, January 08, 2015

Cattle markets in 2014 – from doldrums to hope

By Augusto Semmelroth  |  Source: MLA's NLRS

Cattle markets finished 2014 on a very positive note while coming from a very low base in January. Overall, the best performing categories in all states were cows and feeder steers, with the earlier supported by robust export demand for lean beef. Feeder steers were assisted by firm grainfed cattle prices and, more recently, rainfall. With the benefits from improving seasonal conditions finally starting to flow, 2015 will be set for unprecedented cattle prices.

Key points:

  • After a very poor start in January, cattle prices managed to improve across the board to finish 2014 at considerably better levels.
  • Store cattle and cows were undoubtedly the best performers in all states but SA.
  • The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) boasted a 17% recovery during 2014 to finish the year at 376¢/kg cwt, the highest level since September 2012.
  • Queensland and NSW ended 2014 slightly ahead of their southern counterparts, supported by beneficial rainfalls leading up to the Christmas break.
  • Despite lagging behind, steers and cows still managed to gain some 5-15% between January and December in SA and Victoria.
  • In the west, the more moderate supply levels supported a stronger price recovery compared to eastern markets, to see cows finishing the year 30-35% higher and steers around 20%.
  • Although most indicators didn’t finish the year at their peak, they posted solid gains in December and are expected to start 2015 on a very positive note.
  • The last column of the table shows how volatile cattle prices were for each individual category.
  • As a general rule, the price differential between the low and high in 2014 was 30-50% for most cattle types. 

Mecardo information is provided to assist in your marketing decisions. It contains a range of data and views on the current market. It is not intended to constitute advice for a specific purpose. Before taking any action in relation to information contained within this report, you should seek advice from a qualified professional. The information is obtained from a variety of sources and neither Mecardo nor Ag Concepts Advisory will be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever that may arise from the use of information or for any error or mis-statement contained in this report. 

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