Grassfed cattle leading the decline in national kill

18 August 2016

According to recently released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australian adult cattle slaughter was back 23% year-on-year in June, taking the year-to-June total to just over 3.8 million head, back 18% on the same period last year. The fall was underpinned by a greater decline in grassfed cattle coming through to slaughter*, back 23% for the year-to-date, while grainfed slaughter declined by just 5% over the same period and, as a proportion of the total kill, increased from 31% to 35%.

The decrease was most noticeable within the female portion (back 22% year-on-year in the first six months), while male cattle slaughter declined to a lesser extent (down 13%). However, the female portion of the kill – 49% for the January to June period, compared to 51% in 2014 and 2015 – does appear to be skewed by the unseasonably large number of dairy cattle processed in southern Australia. In comparison, the proportion of females being killed in Queensland has declined from 49% in the first half of 2015 to 41% this year – a similar ratio to the last herd rebuild phase in 2011-2012.

The year-on-year decline in cattle slaughter over the past six months is on track with MLA’s latest projections and a similar trend is likely to occur in the second half of 2016.

Over the past six months, the cattle kill in:

    • Queensland was down 20% year-on-year, at 1,697,885 head
    • NSW was down 15%, at 846,491 head
    • Victoria was down 19%, at 766,401head
    • SA was down 16%, at 199,325 head
    • WA was down 5%, at 188,907 head
    • Tasmania was down 5%, at 113,283 head

*grassfed cattle slaughter is estimated by taking grainfed turnoff, from the ALFA/MLA quarterly feedlot survey, from the ABS national adult cattle kill

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