Continued strength in Australian lot feed cattle market

Cattle on feed numbers are 10% above the five-year average
calendar icon 24 November 2021
clock icon 2 minute read

The latest Australian lot feeding brief from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) for the September quarter highlights the continued strength of the lot fed market and affirms the industry’s position within beef production as critical to delivering consistent supply while records and seasons dictate market terms.

The number of cattle on feed was 10% above the five-year average, and the national utilisation rate remained firm at 77%, in line with the five-year average.


National capacity declined slightly for most states, reported MLA. Victoria and South Australia remained firm, but the key providers of New South Wales and Queensland fell 6.9% and 2.6%, respectively. Western Australian experienced the largest fall of 24%, indicative of the herd rebuild taking shape for the state following a strong rainfall across autumn and winter.

At the market end, the National Feeder Steer Indicator recently broke another record, hitting 546.93c/kg cwt overnight. This is a rise of 124c/kg cwt, or 24%, in 12 months.

Queensland’s Feeder Steer Indicator rose 23c overnight to also reach 546c cwt. Following the recent rain in the states key supply regions the price has lifted 25c/kg cwt.

The 100-day Grainfed Steer price for a 240–260kg cwt animal continues to trade at record levels, averaging 694c/kg cwt, 7% above year-ago levels. Tight supply as the herd rebuild continues is driving market conditions and the OTH (over the hooks) price to its current high level.

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