Hot, dry conditions lift cattle kill

20 October 2015

Eastern states weekly cattle slaughter has been in steady decline since Easter, as illustrated in the figure below. However, with the onset of hot and dry conditions, particularly in the south-east, large numbers of cattle have been turned off and last week registered the first marked increase in the eastern states weekly kill since before the Easter period.


With almost 161,000 head processed throughout the eastern states, last week’s kill was the highest it had been since July but remains 8% below year-ago levels. While the 15% week-on-week lift is coming off a short processing week in many states, it is also 12% and 6% higher than the previous two weeks, respectively.

Last week:

  • Queensland cattle slaughter increased 17%, to 80,552 head
  • NSW increased 19%, to 37,250 head
  • Victoria increased 7%, to 28,969 head
  • SA increased 13%, 9,179 head
  • Tasmania increased 14%, to 4,930 head

While there is usually an increase in weekly cattle slaughter this time of year, as feed conditions deteriorate, the increase this year appears particularly large. In fact, coming out of the short Labour Day public holiday week, 2013 and 2014 weekly kill only lifted 16,826 head and 19,554 head, respectively. This year, the week-on-week increase was 20,992 head.

Under the weight of supply, direct consignment prices continued to ease this week, with all eastern states, with the exception of Tasmania, recording a decline in the over-the-hook cattle price indicators.

In particular, the trade steer indicator (YG, 240-260kg carcase weight, A-C muscle, 5-22mm fat depth) in:

  • Queensland averaged 514¢, back 11¢/kg cwt
  • NSW averaged 496¢, back 23¢/kg cwt
  • Victoria averaged 522¢, back 11¢/kg cwt

The MSA trade steer indicator (YG, 240-260kg carcase weight, A-C muscle, 5-22mm fat depth) in SA averaged 535¢, back 25¢, while comparable lines in Tasmania were steady, at 590¢/kg cwt.

For the full list of the state over-the-hook reports, please click here.

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