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Cattle

4 January, 2021

Predictions of livestock market growth for 2021

“This could be the year where we see the end of the big peaks and troughs, and those extremes may be removed to make way for more sustainable prices for years to come.”


Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) price per kilo record was broken with GJ and LG Eiser's Brangus steers that sold for 572.2c/kg by Ray White Rural Gracemere agents Trevor Humble and Col Goodwin.
Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX) price per kilo record was broken with GJ and LG Eiser's Brangus steers that sold for 572.2c/kg by Ray White Rural Gracemere agents Trevor Humble and Col Goodwin.
  • 640,158 head of cattle and 1,860,032 sheep were processed through RLX sites in 2020
  • Predictions higher cattle prices will continue for 2021 

THE culmination of national herd rebuilding efforts, favorable seasons in key production areas and demand for quality genetics made 2020 a bumper season for Regional Livestock Exchange (RLX) saleyards across the nation.

Managed and operated by AAM Investment Group (AAM), the eight sites throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria, processed more than 640,158 head of cattle and 1,860,032 sheep in the last calendar year.

RLX, General Manager – Operations, Cye Travers, said the strong sales volume was supported by RLX’s adaptability in the face of COVID-19, and ability to provide a stable and safe selling environment to ensure no sales were postponed or cancelled.

And, while the pandemic will be how many remember their 2020, Mr Travers predicted the cattle industry may reflect on this year as a watershed moment for price stability.

“I think the industry will look back on this year as a turning point for prices,” Mr Travers said.

“The challenges the industry has faced coming off the back of drought, then dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, proved selling rates are stable at this higher level.

“This could be the year where we see the end of the big peaks and troughs, and those extremes may be removed to make way for more sustainable prices for years to come.”

Stud sales

Looking back on 2020, Mr Travers said market growth was particularly strong at Central Queensland Livestock Exchange (CQLX), as evident throughout a string of bountiful Spring bull sales.

“CQLX stamped its authority as the premium stud selling facility and was home to higher sale averages and clearance rates compared to previous years,” Mr Travers said.

“The industry as a whole was focused on reinvesting in the genetic base of their cattle, which very much contributed to the higher averages experienced.”

Prices for sires peaked during the Brahman Week Sale in October at $210,000 for Clukan Boabab, a Grey Brahman that smashed CQLX’s own bull sale record by $60,000.

Prime and store sales

CQLX also broke recent records at its Wednesday Prime and Store Cattle Sale in November, reaching 572.2c/kg for GJ and LG Eiser’s line of Brangus steers – the sale came off the back of four consecutive weeks where the price per kilo record was broken. 

In total, CQLX processed 140,643 head of cattle throughout the year.

In NSW, the freshly redeveloped Inverell Regional Livestock Exchange (IRLX) reached 41,389 head, Hunter Regional Livestock Exchange (HRLX) 29,645, Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange (TRLX) 93,840 and Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange (CTLX) 104,112 cattle. Further south in Victoria, Northern Victoria Livestock Exchange (NVLX) peaked the yearly totals at 150,239, Central Victoria Livestock Exchange (CVLX) had 55,561 and Corangamite Regional Livestock Exchange (CRLX) processed 24,729.

Growing flock

Records also tumbled in the sheep industry, as CVLX, the largest undercover sheep sale in Australia, capped off its 2020 with history-making throughput at its saleyards. 

The CVLX Sheep and Lamb sale processed more than 68,000 head at its 15 December sale, where the top pen of lambs peaked at $289/head. 

“Hitting that throughput number was a great way for the Ballarat region to cap off 2020,” Mr Travers said.

“It’s a testament to our team, and the combined selling agents at CVLX, for a sale of that scale to all run smoothly and for them to have handled similar numbers for a few weeks in row.” 

In total, 1,331,240 sheep were processed at CVLX. In NSW CTLX processed 360,960, TRLX 130,561 and IRLX 37,264.

Online bidding clicks

A notable trend across all eight sites, was the increased take up of online sales through StockLive, the online bidding platform utilised by RLX.

Mr Travers believed this trend would be upheld for years to come, but stressed online bidding would not replace the competitive transparency of in-person sales.

“2020 has taught us physical auctions will always be a mainstay of our industry, and with the add-on of online bidding it means vendors and buyers can have the best of both worlds – it ensures all participants are getting the best price on the day for livestock,” he said.

Looking ahead

As 2021 has arrived, Mr Travers said RLX’s focal points would be continued investment in industry-leading animal welfare throughout all operations. 

“AAM invests heavily in the training of our staff to ensure we can offer the greatest experience to both vendors and livestock when they attend our facilities,” Mr Travers said.

“Annually, we run low-stress livestock handling schools with varying experts from across the country. We are pleased to lead the industry in adopting these techniques.

“Animal welfare is vitally important, both from the wellbeing of the animal point of view, and for adding value to the supply chain.”

Also on the horizon, is a fresh focus on more sites gaining full certification for Meat Standards Australia’s (MSA) requirements.

“About 48 per cent of the Australian beef industry is now MSA graded and we will work to improve access to this market at our saleyards for all vendors and buyers,” he said.

“We see this aligning with our overarching animal welfare goals, yield outcomes and improved eating quality.” 


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