Dry sees April cattle slaughter swell

13 June 2018

Below average rainfall across most of Australia saw Australian adult cattle slaughter in April increase 26% year-on-year, totalling almost 617,600 head. This brought slaughter levels for the year-to-date (January–April) to almost 2.4 million head, 10% higher than the same period in 2017.

Victoria recorded the largest increase in cattle slaughter, up 26% year-on-year to almost 493,000 head for the year-to-date – with Victoria absorbing some of the capacity lost with the temporary closure of a major SA processor. SA cattle slaughter was back 37% on 2017 levels totalling just over 73,000 head.

On the back of the higher April slaughter, production for the month lifted 23% year-on-year, totalling almost 180,000 tonnes carcase weight (cwt). This brought the year-to-date total to just over 711,000 tonnes cwt, an 11% increase on 2017 levels.

The national average carcase weight for April was 291.3kg, easing 3% from year-ago levels. The female proportion of cattle processed across all states except SA was 53% in April, 6 percentage points higher than the same time last year. The year-to-date average (January–April) was 298kg, just shy of the 300kg mark surpassed for the first time in November last year.

View MLA’s monthly beef supply data summary

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