CATTLE numbers on feed across Australia eased during the second quarter ended 30 June, but remain the third highest on record.
The latest quarterly feedlot survey compiled by MLA and the Australian Lot Feeders Association shows numbers easing by 74,000 head or six percent since March to 1.195 million head.
While numerous headwinds such as increasing input costs for energy, fuel, cattle and grain were prominent, national feedlot capacity remained resilient, easing by 13,668 head to 1.472 million head – the second highest figure on record.
In line with slightly lower numbers on feed and national capacity, the feedlot utilisation rate fell 4pc quarter-on-quarter to 81pc. This figure was firm on year-ago levels but higher by 10pc compared with the second quarter in 2020, showing the growth in confidence and demand for grainfed product the sector has experienced in two years.
Cattle on feed
All states saw a reduction in numbers on feed in the second quarter.
The largest drops were seen in Queensland, where numbers declined by 40,084 head to 798,052 head, accounting for 54pc of the national reduction. This decline was partly due to smaller opportunity lotfeeders stepping back from operating, with their smaller scale allowing more dynamism in the face of challenging conditions relating to inputs.
Cattle numbers on feed in Victoria and NSW remained relatively firm, at 61,362 head and 335,064 head respectively.
Numbers on feed in WA continue to show seasonal variability. After rising 82pc in the March quarter, the state’s volumes fell by 25pc in the second quarter to 54,890 head.
Turn-off reflects numbers on feed
National turn-off for the June quarter reflected lower numbers on feed, falling by 10pc to 667,542 head. During this period, reductions in turn-off across SA, NSW and Queensland were seen while volumes increased in Victoria and WA.
The lower volume of grainfed turn-off was reflected in a reduction of grainfed production as a percentage of total beef production, falling from 56pc in the first quarter to 45pc in the second.
Although Q2 figures were lower, they were still 4pc above the five-year average and 8pc above the ten-year average – confirming large volumes of grainfed product continues to be delivered to market.
Although national turn-off volumes fell, grainfed export volume improved by 15pc or 10,181t compared with the March quarter, showing that robust demand for grainfed product in the export space remains.
Australia’s largest volume and value grainfed export market, Japan, increased by 17pc, while overall, Japanese customers took 42pc of total grainfed exports in the June quarter.
Demand from other markets outside of China, Japan and South Korea increased exports by 34pc or 3396 tonnes on Q1 results. These figures demonstrate the significant diversity of markets Australia exports grainfed product to, as well as the strong demand for product from other nations outside of the established grainfed markets.
Source: MLA, ALFA