QLD drives cattle numbers on feed

27 August 2015

Results from the ALFA/MLA quarterly feedlot survey indicate cattle on feed in Queensland continued to grow in the June quarter, up 10% year-on-year, at a little over 528,000 head and accounting for 55% of the national total.

Numbers on feed were driven by continued dry conditions across much of Queensland, with the majority of the state receiving ‘below average’ to ‘very much below average’ rainfall during the first six months of the year (Bureau of Meteorology). Meanwhile, demand for grainfed beef also remained strong, with the Queensland 100-day grainfed steer over-the-hook indicator increasing 24% year-on-year, to average 487¢/kg cwt during the June quarter. In fact, as illustrated in Figure 1, the number of cattle in Queensland feedlots has grown well beyond the 2007 peak.


Similarly, cattle on feed in NSW increased 20% year-on-year, to just under 300,000 head, and all other states were also above year-ago levels.

Over the past twelve months, the number of Australian grainfed cattle turned off has exceeded what was recorded in 2006-07, when Australia capitalised on restricted US access into the lucrative Japanese grainfed beef market. However, grainfed beef exports are actually below what was recorded during the 2006-07 fiscal year, indicating the portion of domestic beef being grain finished has increased, as it becomes increasingly difficult to source suitable grass finished trade cattle.

For more information, click here to access the June quarter Lotfeeding Brief.

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