A return to herd rebuilding following a wet summer across Eastern Australia contributed to lower cattle sale yardings in 2010-2011.
Australian cattle producers sold 2.3 million cattle through NLRS reported saleyards in the financial year just ended, five percent less than the previous year according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
Total yardings were also five percent below the five-year average.
MLA said female yardings fell 9pc nationally last financial year, a clear sign that producers were withholding breeding stock to focus on herd rebuilding.
“This proved to be a delicate decision for many – as beef producers were forced to choose between rebuilding or generating much needed cash flow after the drought.
“This decision may have been even harder given the historically strong cattle prices observed over the last six months.”
The report does not account for the extent to which increases in direct to processor sales and sales to AuctionsPlus have contributed to lower saleyard throughputs.
State by State, Queensland cattle throughput eased 4pc, NSW 10pc and Victoria 2pc. Western Australia which remains gripped by drought was recorded a 5pc year on year increase in saleyard throughputs, while yardings in South Australia increased by 4pc.
The tighter supplies contributed to higher prices, with the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) averaging 382.5¢/kg cwt in 2010-11 – 16pc higher than the previous year.
Annual medium cow prices avergaged 143¢/kg lwt – 14pc higher.
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