Persistent drought conditions have driven increased slaughter in the first half of 2018, with the female portion experiencing a pronounced increase in recent months. This, combined with a poor three-month weather outlook, has led annual slaughter to be revised upwards to 7.8 million head for 2018.
The weight of supply placed some pressure on prices throughout autumn, particularly for young cattle. However, price declines could have been much more pronounced if not for strong growth in some key Asian export markets. Demand in these markets has held firm in the face of increased product coming from both Australia and the US. The flow-on for producers, domestically, has been continued price-support for finished cattle, cows and feeder suitable cattle.
Seasonal conditions during spring will play a huge role in how the market performs in the second half of the year, with any improvement to pasture conditions likely to see demand for young cattle and females increase.
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