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Numbers on feed rebound to near-record levels

Australia’s latest feedlot survey results, published by the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), show numbers of cattle on feed rising by 8.5% to 1,256,832 head in the June quarter.

ALFA’s President Barb Madden said that the number of cattle on feed was the second highest on record.

“Record numbers on feed in Queensland and South Australia have pushed the national figure up – despite declines in NSW, Victoria and WA,” Mrs Madden said.

Numbers on feed in Queensland and SA rose by 17.6% and 18.6% respectively, while NSW, Victoria and WA numbers dropped 1.4%, 8.3% and 19.4% across the quarter.

National capacity remained steady 1.56 million head. Utilisation rates increased from 74% in the March quarter to 81% in the June quarter.

“Despite input cost pressures and an uncertain economic outlook, high utilisation rates demonstrate continued demand for grain fed beef and confidence in the feedlot production system,” Mrs Madden said.

Tim Jackson, MLA’s Global Supply Analyst, said that Australian grain prices are at near-record levels and have been since the start of 2022, but were internationally competitive.

“Wheat prices for the Darling Downs traded up 2% at an average of $408/tonne during the quarter, however this represented a 25% discount to American export HRW, compared to a historic average of 5%,” Mr Jackson said.

“Even though feed prices have been rising, the relative price advantage will assist Australia’s position in international markets.”

Grain fed beef exports strengthened by 8% from the March quarter, and strong demand from China and South Korea balancing softer exports in Japan.

Mr Jackson also said feeder cattle saleyard throughput strengthened in the June quarter, while prices and average weights eased. While easing prices offered some cost relief, other input costs remained well above historic levels, and consumer confidence in key export markets was lower than year-ago levels.

Despite this, the June survey results show the continued resilience of the lot feeding industry.

“Australian grain fed beef is in demand around the world, as the increasing diversification of export destinations shows,” Mr Jackson said, “and strong growth of numbers on feed demonstrate the capacity of the lot feeding industry to meet that demand.”


Media Contacts

Jack Johnston MLA Corporate Affairs and Media Manager E: M: 0407 282 971

Barb Madden

ALFA President

E: P: (02) 9290 3700



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