Fewer cows mean a smaller September slaughter

18 November 2015

Adult cattle slaughter edged lower again in September, influenced by reduced cattle availability in the wake of two years of unprecedented cattle sell-off.

For September, adult slaughter was 7% lower year-on-year, at 740,717 head. The male contribution was 385,500 head, down 5% over the period, but more striking was the decline in the number of females processed during September – down 10% year-on-year, at 355,217 head.

This indicates the female population is strained from the extraordinary turn-off over the past two years, and figure 1 illustrates the fall in female slaughter of recent months through the red line.


The September slaughter figures resulted in beef production declining 6% from September last year, at 206,101 tonnes cwt. This makes three consecutive months of lower year-on-year beef production and is more than likely the beginning of a longer term trend.

For the year-to-September, Australian adult cattle slaughter was 6.95 million head, up marginally (1%) from last year, while beef production was up 2%, at 1.9 million tonnes cwt. Average adult carcase weights have been heavier than the same time the previous year for the duration (averaging 278kg/head, up 1%), boosting production levels.

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