Slaughter slows in south

16 July 2015

Eastern states weekly adult cattle slaughter, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, finally appears to be slowing down, but the reduction is coming from the southern states, with the Queensland kill continuing at levels similar to a year ago. In fact, at 54%, the Queensland share of the eastern states weekly kill is the highest it has been since September 2013.

Last week:

  • Queensland processed 88,645 head, up 3% year-on-year
  • NSW processed 35,904 head, back 11%
  • Victoria slaughtered 26,177 head, 15% lower
  • SA processed 7,986 head, back 3%
  • Tasmania slaughtered 4,961 head, up 1%

The tighter southern supplies have been reflected in higher prices. Boosted by some northern rain early in the year, the Queensland over-the-hook (OTH) grass-fed trade steer (240-260kg cwt, A-C muscle) indicator tracked at a premium to NSW and Victoria, reaching 41¢/kg cwt in the second week of February.

However, by March the premium had swung back in favour of NSW and Victoria, as follow up rain failed to eventuate. As the availability of cattle in the south (and in particular those showing finish) has become tighter, the difference between prices in the north and the south has continued to grow. This week’s OTH indicators suggest that trade steers in Victoria are currently trading at a 55¢/kg cwt premium over Queensland, and lines in NSW are trading at a 26¢/kg cwt premium.

This week:

  • Trade steers in Victoria averaged 512¢/kg cwt, up 46% year-on-year
  • Trade steers in NSW averaged 483¢/kg cwt, up 39%
  • The same lines in Queensland made 457¢/kg cwt, up 47%
  • MSA trade steers in SA averaged 533¢/kg cwt, up 44%
  • MSA trade steers in Tasmania made 510¢/kg cwt, up 32%

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