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2011 - What A Year For Livestock Prices

04 January 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - The past year has been one of mixed fortunes for Australia's livestock industry, with many of the fluctuating conditions felt most keenly amongst cattle producers.

Sheep and lamb producers experienced a relatively consistent twelve months, characterised by flock rebuilding, tight supplies and historically high prices.

However, cattle producers had a much more volatile year. Floods, the global economic turmoil, high Australian dollar, Japanese disasters and the live cattle ban to Indonesia all weighed heavily upon market sentiment throughout 2011.

Fortunately, many of these issues were somewhat counterbalanced by more positive influences on prices. These included very tight global beef supplies, burgeoning export growth in developing markets, and tight Australian cattle supplies as producers attempted to make the most of a second consecutive wet year.

Indeed, in a review of average cattle prices for the past calendar year, the unprecedented demand issues that the beef industry faced throughout 2011 can be somewhat overshadowed.

Average cattle prices highest on record

For the past 12 months, all of the benchmark saleyard cattle categories collected by MLA registered their highest calendar year average on record (in nominal terms).

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator averaged 396¢/kg cwt in 2011, 12 per cent above the previous year and more than 20¢ above the previous calendar year high set in 2005.

Despite prices falling to below the five-year average throughout the winter months, as the Australian dollar and difficult situation in Japan hit saleyards, heavy steer prices nationally averaged six per cent higher in 2011, at 343¢/kg cwt.

Rebuilding efforts and very strong demand for cows resulted in the national weekly indicator for cows averaging seven per cent higher year-on-year, at a calendar year record of 294¢/kg cwt.

For Queensland cattle producers, direct to works also averaged higher year-on-year, with heavy steers (300-420kg) averaging 334¢/kg cwt – up six per cent year-on-year.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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