Cattle on feed exceed the one million mark

16 May 2018

Dry conditions in eastern Australia during the first quarter of 2018 have resulted in the number of cattle on feed surpassing one million head for only the fourth time on record.

Cattle on feed at the end of March 2018 increased 52,506 head (or 5%) from the December 2017 quarter, to 1.03 million head - 12% above the five-year average. Deteriorating conditions throughout January, February and March in many cattle producing regions resulted in more stock being moved to feedlots.

State changes in the numbers on feed from the previous quarter:

  • NSW increase 1%, to 321,000 head
  • QLD increased 8%, to 561,500 head
  • Victoria declined 2%, to 64,000 head
  • SA increased 51%, to 31,500 head
  • WA declined 6%, to 47,000 head.

While saleyard prices for feeder cattle have continued to fall, prices for finished cattle have remained reasonably firm so far in 2018, helping to offset the continued rise for feed grain prices. There are also growing concerns for the upcoming winter cropping season, with no decent rainfall on the horizon.

View the latest ALFA/MLA lot feeding survey results

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