Australian cattle prices to fall further

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has called the end of the La Nina weather pattern, moving to an El Nino watch, which will increase the chances of drier weather conditions. The BoM forecasted a 50pc chance of an El Nino forming later in the year, which may cause drought conditions in the eastern states of Australia. Three La Nina years in a row brought above-average rainfall, creating record-breaking crop production, filling water storages, increasing soil moisture and a significant cattle herd rebuild.

Australian cattle prices have continued to decline into 2023, with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) currently sitting at 680¢/kg, down by 39pc from 1,117¢/kg during the same time last year. Lower prices are largely because of increased supply of cattle coming into the market following multiple years of a herd rebuild, according to Rural Bank. The Argus-assessed Australian northern feeder cattle price was at 374¢/kg on 16 March, down by 33pc from 564¢/kg during the same time last year. Australian processors are decreasing grid prices on grain-fed cattle to feedlots, which is driving down feeder steer prices, after unsustainable high prices over the past two years and then a steep decline in 2023, when many feedlots and processors were making major losses on cattle.

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