As the long, often frenetic 2015 Eastern Australian beef kill draws to a close, attention is already starting to focus on what lies ahead for prices in the new slaughter year starting in mid-to-late January.
With only two full weeks left in many East Coast processors’ schedules for the 2015 season and other plants already closed, there’s been a somewhat deceptive 4pc rise in the Eastern states tally for the week ended Friday. What’s caused it?
With three full weeks to go until Christmas closures, the finish line is within sight for the 2015 Eastern Australian slaughter season, as slaughter numbers continued to edge lower this week.
Eastern states weekly beef kills continue to trend downwards after an exhausting year of record high slaughter. NLRS logged a five-state tally of 143,834 head for the week ended Friday, down 8pc on the previous week, suggesting kills will become a ‘day-to-day proposition’ for many processors in coming weeks.
There was little or no change in Qld grid prices this past week, as processors now seem resigned to the fact that there is currently little correlation between a hike in direct consignment cattle offers, and the consequent flow of slaughter stock. The key question now will be: What effect, if any, will the big decline in beef production have on what is currently a very lacklustre export and domestic beef market?
There’s been a surprisingly mild response in Queensland grid prices following the widespread, if very patchy rain that’s fallen across parts of Eastern Australia over the past week.
Southeast Queensland grids are either unchanged or 5c dearer, while there is a little more advance in grids in the more northern regions of the state, which are now battling to maintaining a kill through til season’s end.
A solid 4pc rise in slaughter last week masked some deeper underlying headwinds that suggest beef processors will continue to battle to accumulate worthwhile slaughter cattle numbers for what’s left of the 2015 kill season.
The pace of change might have slowed a little, but slaughter cattle prices – both via saleyards and direct consignment – have continued their downward trend this week.
Both meatworks grids and saleyards have continued their rapid price descent this week, maintaining the sudden correction in cattle pricing that set-in a week earlier.
Rates of slaughter across Eastern Australia continued to trend down last week, adding to a consistent slide which started to take shape back around mid-year.