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Strong demand continues to drive feedlot industry

Cattle on feed for the July – September 2019 quarter dropped slightly from the record high in June to 1,119,329 head, a reduction of 28,064 head or 2.5%, according to the results of the latest Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) survey.

An increase in the numbers on feed was recorded in both Queensland and New South Wales. Queensland increased by 7,440 head, or 1.1%, to 660,269 head, while NSW increased by 5,139, or 1.6%, to 321,951 head compared to the June quarter.

Gains in numbers on feed were offset by decreases in Victoria and South Australia, down 12.4% to 67,051 head, and 10.8% to 42,588 head from the June quarter respectively. In line with seasonal trends, Western Australia reduced numbers on feed, recording a 48.6% decline from June levels to reach 27,470 head.

ALFA President, Bryce Camm, said strong global demand for high quality protein continued to drive the feedlot industry and help Australia meet its customers’ needs despite challenging production conditions.

“Feedlots have helped sustain beef production and Australian supply chains meet demand for high quality Australian beef despite persistent east coast drought conditions,” Mr Camm said.

“Strong global demand for protein, and in particular high-quality grain fed beef, has certainly helped the feedlot industry sustain production levels through these challenging times.”

Adam Cheetham, MLA’s Senior Market Analyst, said that demand for high quality Australian grain fed beef in export markets has remained robust; especially in China.

“Grain fed exports to China have increased 45% year on year to 19,990 tonnes shipped weight (swt) for the September quarter, largely fuelled by the impact African Swine Fever (ASF) was having on protein availability,” Mr Cheetham said.

“In line with robust demand the Queensland 100-day grain fed steer OTH indicator rose 11% year-on-year to average 589¢/kg cwt in the September quarter and steadily increased to be in line with record prices set in October 2016,” Mr Cheetham said.

“Feedlot operators also experienced a reprieve in grain prices albeit from historical highs, with wheat ex-Darling Downs averaging $401/tonne and barley $400/tonne, representing a decline of 7% and 6% year-on-year, respectively.”

“The Feeder steer indicator averaged 294¢/kg live weight (lwt) in the September quarter, an increase of 4% from the previous quarter and 5% above year-ago levels,” Mr Cheetham said.

To access the full figures and other quarterly feedlot reports please go to the ALFA website here.



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