May saw store cattle prices drop across saleyards and online listings as current weather conditions and forecasts predicting a below average season saw restocker confidence take a blow.
Feedlot buyers were prevalent in the south snapping up quality runs of heavier young cattle while demand from restockers was more subdued with the lighter runs of cattle seeing the sharpest drops in prices.
By the end of May the EYCI had dropped below 600c for the first time since 2018, dropping 525c in 12 months and halved since the highs of 1200c/kg in 2021.
Many producers have been holding onto cattle to finishing weights, pushing out lead times at abattoirs which in turn has been contributing to lower prices in the yards, which according to agents is creating some of the best buying opportunities in years for producers willing to take a gamble on the season.
Heavy Hereford steers 440-605kg fetched between 320c/kg and 365c/kg to average $1717 per head, selling to a top of $1937.
A pen of three Hereford steers weighing 605kg sold for the top heavy steer price of 320c/kg at Warwick on 9th May.
Yearling Hereford steers 351-433kg were back on average 40c/kg from April and sold from 327c/kg to 401c/kg averaging $1397 per head with a top price of $1690.
Lighter yearling Hereford steers 279-337kg sold from 335c/kg to 401c/kg with an average $/head value of $1105 and a top price of $1200.
Hereford weaner steers 282-355kg sold from 282c/kg to 414c/kg averaging $1121 per head and selling to a top of $1400.
The top c/kg rate in this category was fetched on AuctionsPlus by Wooling Pastoral Co, Crookwell for 55 weaned steers aged 7-9 months with Bowen, Wirruna and Warrensville blood.
Light weaner steers between 176kg and 277kg made between 313c/kg and 413c/kg averaging $823 per head and reached a top price of $1100.
In the female pens unjoined Hereford heifers 258-559kg sold from 250c/kg to 330c/kg to average $1144 per head and selling to a top of $1680.
Weaner heifers 173-352kg sold from 247c/kg to 482c/kg with an average $/head value of $933 and reached a top of $1350 for a run of 9–10-month-old heifers sold via AuctionsPlus by JP Davie and Co, Ouse, Tasmania.
PTIC and station-mated Hereford heifers averaged $1450 while PTIC and station-mated Hereford cows fetched an average of $1650.
A limited number of unjoined cows and calves were offered this month and averaged $1935 with a top price of $2800 which topped the cow and calf category at the Myrtleford sale for a pen of 12 cows with calves at foot offered by NA Martin, Havilah.
Only one lot of PTIC Hereford cows with calves was offered this month which were sold by Wesley Lowien on AuctionsPlus for $2250.