More beef per beast
18 May 2017
Following the herd liquidation of 2015/2016, the effects of tight cattle supply on slaughter continue to be felt into 2017. The March quarter 2017 registered an 8% decrease in the number of adult cattle processed from year-ago levels, to 1.67 million head (ABS).
Females accounted for the majority of the decline, decreasing 10%, or 87,091 head, from the first quarter in 2016. Male cattle slaughter declined to a lesser extent – down 6%, or 63,352 head, year-on-year.
Production, however, was somewhat offset as a result of increased carcase weights. Australian beef production for the March quarter declined 6% year-on-year to 494,227 tonnes cwt. A combination of more favourable seasonal conditions, fewer females being slaughtered and genetic improvement saw quarterly carcase weights average 295.34kg/head – 2% higher than the same period last year.
The remainder of 2017 is likely to see slaughter numbers continue to be suppressed as a result of tight supply. Supply pressure should begin to alleviate towards the end of the year as herd rebuilding begins to take effect.
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