We’ve seen some big swings in cattle prices in Australia over the last few years and with updated consumer price indicators from the ABS for the June 2023 quarter we are able to run the numbers on deflated cattle prices to see how current levels stack up to historic values, when we convert all the older prices to a current dollar value in $/head.
The 50-year average Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) sits at $936 per head, based on a 300kg live weight animal. The current EYCI at 440c/kg cwt or 238c/kg lwt works out to around $715 per head for a 300 kg lwt animal, so we are about 24% under the long term average deflated price for young cattle. The normal range in EYCI pricing, based on 2023 dollar values, is between $620 to $1250 per head and is highlighted by the grey shaded 70% zone (which is the range where the EYCI price has historically spent 70% of the time). Extreme pricing is when the EYCI goes outside the 95% range, either above $1,565 per head or below $305 per head, for a 300 kg animal.
The 50-year average for the National Heavy Steer comes in at around $1,600 per head, based upon a 550 kg live weight steer. The current National Heavy Steer price is 265 c/kg lwt, which translates to a price of $1,458 per head, for a 550kg steer. This places the current Heavy Steer price around 9% under the long term deflated price. The normal range in pricing for Heavy Steers is between $1,100 t0 $2,100 per head and prices would be considered extreme when it goes above $2,585 or below $620 per head, based upon a 550 kg steer.
If you are a cattle producer and you are wanting to bemoan the weak pricing, spare a thought for the sheep producer and take a look at how their deflated prices are faring at the moment.