Eastern states weekly cattle slaughter remains well below five-year average

07 June 2016

May is typically one of the largest cattle processing months of the year, as peak turn-off in the north and south coincide. This seasonally driven trend was accentuated last year by drought and caused a record average weekly kill (176,010 head). 2016, however, has seen the average weekly kill for all months rest far below both 2015 levels and the five-year (2011-2015) average, with May no exception.

In contrast to the 161,092 head processed each week on average during May over the last five years, 2016 recorded a weekly average kill of 147,117 head, dropping 9% from the five-year average and 16% from year-ago levels.


 On a state by state basis, for average weekly cattle slaughter during May:

  • Queensland declined 16% from year-ago levels, to 73,474 head, and was 12% below the five-year average;
  • SA slaughter dropped 18% year-on-year, and 8% from the five-year average, to 7,753 head;
  • NSW turn-off eased 16%, to 34,491 head, from May 2015, and was 10% lower than the five-year average;
  • Victoria weekly average was 26,585 head, 14% less than last year, but 4% higher than the five-year average;
  • Cattle slaughter in Tasmania was 3% below the five-year average and eased 7% year-on-year, at 4,580 head

Reflecting the tighter cattle availability, over-the-hook prices climbed throughout May, and are likely to remain supported during the winter months, with numbers processed expected to remain well below 2015 levels.

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