A look at winter cattle
Total eastern states average weekly cattle slaughter during winter, as collected by MLA’s NLRS, was virtually steady on the corresponding period in 2011, at around 127,700 head.
While throughput numbers slipped 3% lower in June, largely due to widespread rain and transport issues, slaughter levels in July and August both lifted marginally year-on-year, up 3% and 1.4%, respectively.
While rainfall for the past three months was patchy across the eastern states, Queensland experienced a wet June, especially through central and coastal regions, which hindered cattle movements, and subsequently cattle throughput during the month.
Drier conditions during the second half of winter enabled the flow of cattle to improve, reflected in some larger weekly Queensland slaughter numbers in late August.
In southern regions, while rainfall for July and August was below average, a good volume of feed across most regions saw many producers holding onto stock, forcing some southern processors to compete in northern markets for numbers.
The lingering cool and damp conditions did have an impact on the quality of cattle offered, with many of the best lines offered in late winter supplementary fed.
Average weekly slaughter in Queensland for winter increased 1% year-on-year. Slight increases in average weekly winter slaughter were also recorded in both Victoria and Tasmania.
Offsetting the other states increases was an 11% decline recorded in NSW, which generally occurred through June and July.
The quality of cattle offered contributed to the decline, with plainer lines dominating markets across NSW, with many purchased by feeders or restockers.
With numbers ramping up in recent weeks, the timing of any spring break will have a big impact on available supplies in southern markets.
Across Queensland, the steady flow of well finished cattle is expected to be maintained, with many lines running at heavier weights than in previous years.