August slaughter swells

10 October 2017


Australian adult cattle slaughter in August totalled just over 677,000 head – 10% higher than the same time last year (ABS). This took the total for the year-to-date (January-August) to almost 4.82 million head, although remained 3% below year-ago levels. Much of the country experienced below average rainfall throughout winter, which saw producers turn off more stock in the lead up to spring.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology 

With the herd rebuilding phase ongoing, cow and heifer retention has seen females continue to make up the majority of the decline in overall processing so far this year. Female slaughter totalled just under 2.23 million head for the year-to-date, down 8% year-on-year – accounting for 46% of the total adult kill. Deteriorating seasonal conditions during winter, however, has seen an increase in female slaughter compared to last year. In August, female cattle slaughter lifted 6% year-on-year, to almost 308,000 head.

Male cattle slaughter in August increased 13% from year-ago levels, to 369,000 head. Numbers processed for the year-to-date increased 2% year-on-year, to just under 2.6 million head.


Beef and veal production for the month was up 11% from year-ago levels, to almost 203,000 tonnes carcase weight (cwt). The total volume for the year-to-date remained firm year-on-year, at just over 1.4 million tonnes cwt.

The number of cattle on feed nationally exceeded 1 million head in both the March and June quarters. The greater numbers of cattle finished at heavier weights, combined with a lower proportion of female slaughter for much of the year, have contributed to increasing carcase weights. The national average adult carcase weight for the year-to-date was 296.5kg/head, up 4%, or just over 10kg on the same period last year.

To view a statistical summary of Australian slaughter and production, please click here.

Back to News

Join myMLA today

One username and password for key integrity and information Systems (LPA/NVD, NLIS, MSA & LDL).

A personalised online dashboard that provides news, weather, events and R&D tools relevant to you.

Customised market information and analysis.

Learn more about myMLA

myMLA Sign Up

Already registered for myMLA?

Sign in here