Southern grids lift amidst tightening cattle supplies

16 February 2016

Processor grids across NSW, Victoria and SA lifted this week, as a result of ongoing difficulty in securing slaughter cattle numbers. All surveyed processors in Queensland had unchanged grids.

Eastern states adult cattle slaughter declined 9% week-on-week and was 21% below year-ago levels, at 133,747 head, for the week ending 12 February. Some plants across the country are still yet to reopen in 2016 while others have reportedly been reducing shifts.

  • Queensland adult cattle slaughter was back 14% on the previous week, at 58,160 head
  • NSW was back 7% week-on-week, at 33,036 head
  • Victoria lifted 1%, to 29,444 head
  • SA declined 11% week-on-week, at 8,144 head
  • Tasmania processed 4,963 head, steady on the previous week

In addition to ongoing tight supplies supporting cattle prices, last week saw a lift in the lean manufacturing beef indicator to the US – the 90CL imported cow beef indicator increased 12.3A¢, to 603.9A¢/kg CIF – as a result of lower export volumes to the market from Australia and NZ and an improvement in demand leading into the US spring.

Southern processors have a greater exposure to the physical market, traditionally sourcing larger numbers from the saleyard than their northern counterparts. Last week and at markets on Monday this week (notably Wagga Wagga), more northern feeder and processor buyers were present at southern saleyards, providing additional competition across most lines, and lifting prices.

At the start of this week:

  • The Queensland grassfed trade steer over-the-hook (OTH) indicator (240-290kg cwt, 0-2 tooth, A-C muscle, 5-22 fat depth) was steady, at 500¢/kg cwt
  • The Queensland 100-day grainfed steer OTH indicator (300-320kg cwt, 0-2 tooth, A-C muscle, 5-22 fat depth) was steady at 529¢/kg cwt
  • The NSW grassfed trade steer OTH indicator increased 10¢, to 513¢/kg cwt
  • The Victorian grassfed trade steer OTH indicator increased 4¢, to 527¢/kg cwt
  • The SA MSA grassfed trade steer OTH indicator gained 10¢, to 537¢/kg cwt
  • The Tasmanian MSA grassfed trade steer OTH indicator was steady, to 545¢/kg cwt

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