NUMBERS of cattle on feed have reduced across all states in the past three months, with the industry’s latest quarterly survey showing a 54,559 head decline.
The data compiled by the Australian Lot Feeders Association and the Meat & Livestock Australia released this morning showed the total remained above one million head, with a total of 1.119m for the September quarter.
The largest feeding state, Queensland, had a modest reduction in numbers, 18,328 head or 2.6pc to 690,229 head, after a 30.7pc uptick in numbers last quarter. New South Wales dropped 22,349 head or 6.9pc to 302,369 and Victoria and decreased by 3,693 head, or 5.7pc, to 61,334 head.
Western Australia recorded the larges per centage reduction, dropping 24.8pc or 9,516 head to 28,834 head. South Australia recorded a modest decrease in cattle numbers on feed, decreasing by 676 head, or 1.8pc, to 36,327 head.
Despite the numbers on feed falling on a quarter-by-quarter basis, there were 108,773 more cattle on feed nationally than there were in the same period last year.
Feedlots turning off cattle
With a large buy up earlier in the year, the turn off rate for rate for lotfeeders has increased, which ALFA president Barb Madden said was a sign of the industry’s importance.
“Turnoff of grain fed cattle for the quarter broke 700,000, reaching 708,371 – the highest level since March 2020,” Ms Madden said.
“The high turn-off of grain fed cattle emphasises the importance of the feedlot sector in assisting brand owners continue to supply high-quality Australian beef.”
Ms Madden said it was pleasing to see numbers of cattle on feed remain above 1 million and above last year’s level.
“Feedlots are operating at a utilisation rate above 75pc. This reinforces that demand for grain fed beef remains steady despite herd rebuilding activity and an environment of tight cattle supply,” she said.
“National utilisation is 7pc higher than September 2020 levels, demonstrating confidence in the production system in the face of continued tightening of supply.”
Processor demand still strong
MLA Market Information Manager Steve Bignell said lotfeeders continued to receive strong demand for finished cattle.
“The Queensland 100-day grain fed steer over-the-hook (OTH) indicator hit a new quarterly record in the September quarter, averaging 694¢/kg carcase weight (cwt),” Mr Bignell said.
“There are 10.8pc more cattle on feed than there were at the same time last year, with Queensland and Victoria experiencing growth of 17pc and 31pc respectively.
“The industry is in a great position – OTH prices are at record levels, numbers on feed up for the year, and international demand remains strong.”