Rebuilding efforts were challenged at the start of 2018 with poor rainfall across many cattle regions. The first quarter has seen both male and female slaughter running above 2017 levels and, combined with a largely neutral weather outlook, has led to a slight upward revision in the annual slaughter forecasts. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has responded to the larger flow of cattle and challenging conditions for many restockers, dipping below 500¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) for the first time since mid-2015 when the herd rebuild began in earnest.
A strong start to the year for carcase weights, combined with an increase in expected slaughter has seen 2018 beef production revised slightly higher and export volumes to follow suit. A close eye will need to be kept on production and consumption levels in the US, with a significant lift in fed cattle kills expected in coming months, which is likely to flow through to increased competition in our key export markets.
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