Cattle on feed have again broken new ground reaching 1,147,393 head for the April – June 2019 quarter, according to latest results of the latest Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) survey.
This represented an overall increase of 1,830 head, or 0.2%, from the previous quarter with increases recorded in Victoria and Western Australia. Victoria increased by 5,980 head, or 8.5%, to 76,552 head and Western Australia increased by 1,099, or 2.1%, to 53,454 head compared to the March quarter. Queensland and New South Wales experienced very modest decreases in numbers on feed, down 0.1% and 0.7% from the December quarter respectively; while South Australia experienced a 4.8% decrease in numbers on feed, to 47,747 head.
ALFA President, Bryce Camm, said that it was not unexpected to see cattle on feed again reach record levels given the prolonged poor conditions across cattle producing areas and the accelerated destocking rates we’ve seen.
“Cattle on feed has consistently been above 1 million head for the last 18 months reflecting the important role feedlots play in managing climate variability and delivering high-quality beef to our global customers,” Mr Camm said.
“Feedlot capacity also continued to rise reaching 1,382,441 head this quarter. The additional 81,000 head from year ago levels reflects investor confidence and the strong demand signals for Australian high-quality grain fed beef.”
Adam Cheetham, MLA’s Senior Market Analyst, said that despite ongoing challenging conditions combined with high supplementary feed costs, demand for high quality Australian grain fed cattle in export markets has remained robust.
“Grain fed exports for the 2018-19 fiscal year totalled 311,986 tonnes swt, easily surpassing the record established in the 2017-18 fiscal year,” Mr Cheetham said.
“For the June quarter major volume gains were experienced into China, up 40%, and Korea, up 9%, from year-ago levels.
“This strong demand was reflected in the prices finished cattle received during the period with the Queensland 100-day grain fed steer over-the-hook indicator improving by 10% (or 51¢) year-on-year in the June quarter to average 572¢/kg cwt,” Mr Cheetham said.
To access the full figures and other quarterly feedlot reports please go to the ALFA website here.