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Beef producers prioritising productivity over profitability

04 July 2024

Key points:

  • Southern beef producers are producing heavier animals compared to northern counterparts.
  • 67% of beef producers are maintaining turn-off weights.
  • Producers need to consider the cost benefit to feed animals compared to end price of the animal.

The April 2024 Beef Producer Intentions Survey (BPIS) was designed by MLA to support industry with reliable data. The survey runs three times a year and covers producer sentiment and intentions, herd profile, spring and autumn calving, turn-off weights for different producer types and sales-to-date forecast.

In the current economic environment, input costs from feed costs to council rates are ever-increasing expenses. The BPIS provides industry-first numbers regarding turn-off weights based on producer type.

There is typically a heavier turn-off weight seen in southern Australia when compared to northern Australia, with variations based on producer type.  

At a producer level, the average turn-off weight is based on producer type.

Over the next 12 months, it is expected that a large majority of producers will maintain turn-off weights.

  • 19% of producers will increase turn off weights
  • 67% of producers are maintaining turn-off weights
  • 12% of producers are reducing turn-off weights.

Producers are expecting to maintain turn-off weights given the increased input costs which are creating a downward pressure on profit margins. This is leading to a maintenance period for turn-off weights for most producer types.

Despite this, 50% of producers nationally are continuing to fatten cattle until they hit target weight. If producers continue to fatten cattle without considering the growing input costs, there will be a profit margins decrease, forcing producers to sell above market price to break even.

Producers need to consider the cost benefit of continuing to feed animals and the end price received for the animal to evaluate if continuing to feed is cost-effective.  

To view the full survey results, visit Beef Producers Intentions Survey April 2024