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One million head confirmed business as usual for Australian feedlot industry

The latest national feedlot survey results, published today by the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), demonstrate the 20th quarter in a row where cattle on feed have remained above 1 million head; setting what has become the new normal for the feedlot industry.

A total of 1,145,228 cattle on feed in Australia was recorded for the December 2022 quarter, an increase of 89,172 on the previous quarter.

Each state recorded increases in cattle on feed. Queensland increased by 7.9% to 675,872 head, New South Wales increased by 4.4% to 318,905 head, Victoria increased by 9.5% to 49,404 head, South Australia increased by 7.7% to 41,812 head, and Western Australia increased by 46.6% to 59,235 head.

ALFA President Barb Madden said she was pleased to see the results show cattle on feed finishing 2022 with over 1 million head on feed, an impressive streak of 20 successive quarters.

“The uptick in cattle on feed from the previous quarter occurred alongside improvements in cattle and grain input costs; which softened slightly. However, labour and energy costs remained challenging, and the weakening global economic outlook continues to weigh on lot feeders’ minds”.

“Despite this, reaching 20 successive quarters above 1 million head confirm what has now become the new normal level of cattle on feed for the Australian feedlot industry.

“Underscoring this achievement is the incremental growth in national capacity which hit 1.532 million head to close out 2022; a new record for the industry”, Mrs Madden said.

Feedlot utilisation rates improved in late 2022, lifting by 5% to 75% through Quarter 4, Ripley Atkinson, MLA’s Senior Market Information Analyst, said.

“Feedlot utilisation rates are a good indicator of feedlot buyer demand and this increase coincided with a decline in the national feeder steer indicator during the latter half of 2022 and softening of grain input costs, which favoured feedlot buyers during the period”, Mr Atkinson said.


Jack Johnston

MLA Corporate Affairs and Media Manager M: 0407 282 971

Barb Madden

ALFA President

P: (02) 9290 3700

Q4 statistics:



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