Eastern states January cattle slaughter lowest since 2012

31 January 2017

In January, MLA reported eastern states weekly adult cattle slaughter averaged just over 92,800 head – down almost 20% on both the same time last year and the five year average – underpinned by greater stock retention and tighter availability. In fact, this is lowest weekly average eastern states cattle kill for January since 2012.

In January, average weekly adult cattle slaughter in Queensland and NSW declined 17% year-on-year, to 36,861 head and 27,003 head, respectively – while numbers in Victoria eased 34%, to 17,940 head. Kill levels in SA and Tasmania also contributed to the overall decline – back 16% and 14%, to average 6,914 head and 4,098 head per week, respectively.

Although likely to be lower this year, the seasonal lift in weaner calf numbers over the coming months is expected to be met by robust buyer demand in the physical market. While cull cows also typically become available over this period, female cattle slaughter is expected to continue to be lower through the rebuilding phase.

MLA forecasts Australian cattle slaughter to decline 3% in 2017, compared to last year, to 7.1 million head.  The factors mentioned above, combined with an anticipated decline in total beef production, will continue to provide support to the market over the coming months.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) latest rainfall outlook points to below average rainfall for most eastern and central parts of Australia for the February to April period, while for the northernmost parts of the country, a wetter than average three month period is forecast.

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