Grain fed cattle numbers remain high

22 November 2015

Cattle numbers in Australian feedlots remained at near record levels, increasing by less than 1% for the September 2015 quarter to 961,328 head.

Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) CEO, Dougal Gordon, stated that “the result continued to reflect the ongoing dry conditions in particularly Queensland (which made it difficult for grass fed cattle operators to sustain numbers) as well as strong demand for Australian beef overseas.”

Small declines were experienced in every feedlot state except Queensland whilst nationwide feedlot capacity utilisation, at 84%, remained extremely high.”

“Strong international demand, as well as some rain across the eastern states, saw feeder cattle prices record robust growth during the quarter.”

“Nationally, saleyard feeder steer (330-400kg lwt, C2) prices averaged 312¢ during the quarter, up 61% year-on-year, while the eastern states domestic paddock feeder steer indicator (280-350kg lwt) averaged 299¢ over the three months, up 52% year-on-year.”

“Darling Downs grain price trends were mixed year-on-year. Barley averaged $301/tonne during the quarter, back 2% year-on-year, while sorghum and wheat both averaged 3% above year-ago levels, at $293/tonne and $328/tonne, respectively.”

“Meat & Livestock Australia’s Manager, Market Information and NLRS, Ben Thomas, stated that 2014/15 September quarter shipments of grain fed beef were the highest on record since 2006, with just over 68,000 tonnes swt exported over the three months – up 14% year-on-year and 22% above the five year September quarter average.”

“Japan (down 4% year-on-year to 33,016 tonnes swt) continued to be the dominant export market for grain fed beef taking 48% of total shipments during the quarter.”

“Volume to Korea was the highest on record since 2006 for the September quarter, with 12,730 tonnes swt shipped during the three months, up 31% year-on-year, whilst shipments to China more than tripled year-on-year to 6,470 tonnes swt.”

“Exports to the US and Middle East also grew (up 68% and 26% above year-ago levels to 4,765 tonnes swt and 2,601 swt respectively) whilst shipments to the EU market remained steady at 4,535 tonnes swt.”

“It is however expected that cattle numbers on feed will reduce for the December quarter due to high feeder cattle prices and tighter cattle supply brought about by the declining herd and increased backgrounder and re-stocker demand following good November rains, Mr Gordon concluded.”

View survey results here.

For further information:

Dougal Gordon – CEO – ALFA Ph: (02) 9290-3700 Mob: 0414 495 368 Ben Thomas – Manager, Market Information – MLA Ph: (02) 9463 9283