RESULTS from the September quarterly feedlot survey show that numbers on feed across Australia were virtually unchanged from the June quarter at 1.01 million head, but down almost 110,000 head or 10pc compared with September last year during the depths of the drought.
Survey results released this morning show that feedlot occupancy levels now sit at 70pc, down from above 90pc at the end of 2019, when numbers on feed rose to a record 1.24 million head.
Numbers on feed in New South Wales increased by 12pc last quarter (+32,200 head), while Western Australia increased numbers by 2pc. Queensland declined by 20,019 head or 3pc, Victoria dropped by 18pc or 10,248 head, and South Australia declined 7pc.
Increases in feedlot capacity also contributed to lower occupancy levels. September saw a record total yard capacity of 1.449 million head, with Queensland’s capacity advancing 57,000 head or 7pc on this time last year; NSW up 20,000 or 5pc; and Victoria up 3.5pc or 2200 head.
Australian Lot Feeders Association president Bryce Camm said national feedlot utilisation remained steady in the September quarter compared with July at 70pc, and above one million head in numbers on feed, despite uncertain market dynamics.
“It’s a positive sign for the feedlot industry to see feedlot utilisation stabilise in line with the five year average, despite market dynamics associated with improved seasonal conditions, herd rebuilding intentions and the uncertainly that COVID continues to play on trading conditions,” Mr Camm said.
Strong restocker demand limits feeder supply
MLA market information manager Stephen Bignell said while feeder cattle were dearer and closed 4pc up, to finish at 406¢/kg liveweight, wheat ex-Darling Downs eased 21pc to average $338/t and barley averaged $298/t, a decline of 18pc on the previous quarter.
“Lotfeeders faced subdued supply and dearer feeder cattle due to strong restocker demand, however this was offset by easing grain prices factoring in improved harvest expectations and continued demand for finished cattle which supported prices through the quarter,” he said.
The Queensland 100-day grainfed steer over-the-hook indicator continued to trade at elevated levels, averaging 649¢/kg carcase weight in the September quarter, 6pc higher than the June quarter and 10pc above year-on-year levels, Mr Bignell said.