A poor July to September rainfall outlook for southern Australia following the dry autumn, 20-year low cow and heifer slaughter and volatile global market activity have resulted in number of minor revisions in the MLA 2017 Cattle Industry Projections.
Notwithstanding, the slowly building national cattle herd indicates the peak of the cattle price surge is more than likely behind us, and downward pressure will continue to slowly mount for the foreseeable future. Despite this, Australian cattle prices are unlikely to drop back to pre-2013 levels, buoyed by some lingering restocker activity when pasture conditions eventually improve, along with the unlikelihood of a strengthening A$ and reducing tariff regimes into Japan, Korea and China.
Interestingly, June 2017 marked a crossroads for the Australian beef industry. Eastern states slaughter consistently tracked higher than year-ago levels for the first time in three years, while at the same time, cattle prices dropped below year-ago levels, also for the first time in three years. These trends are likely to remain in place for the remainder of 2017 and have a significant impact on price and production expectations.
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