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MLA beef and cattle news briefs

Beef Central, 12/09/2013

EYCI drops to 302.25c

The store cattle market is becoming increasingly desperate for circuit-breaking rain as deteriorating feed and water supplies force more light-weight and poor conditioned young cattle onto the market. Young cattle lines are dominating yardings across eastern Australia, according to the National Livestock Reporting Service, as drier conditions extend further south from Queensland into NSW and northern Victoria.  Tuesday’s Roma Store cattle sale saw a 69pc increase in numbers to 9300 head while agents at Dubbo yarded 6300 head last Thursday. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) has eased 13.75c in the space of one week to 302.25/kg cwt, its lowest level since early June. The indicator is now almost 70c/kg lower than the same time last year. According to Tuesday’s cattle market alert, trade steers were 4c lower to 185c, while medium steers gained 1c to average 165c/kg, feeder steers decreased 8c on 168c, while heavy steers were steady on 180c/kg and medium cows were 11c lower, to finish on 118c/kg.

 

Co-product values up 12pc in August

The potential co-product value for a prime steer (average carcase weight 274kg) in August averaged $194.53/head, up 12pc on the same period last year, buoyed by improved tallow and hide prices. The average value for tallow was marginally (1pc) higher on July and 31pc above year-ago levels, averaging $53.09/head. Underpinning the rise is reportedly continued strong demand for tallow for renewable fuel production in both the export and domestic markets. Hide prices were slightly lower (2pc) during August compared with the previous month, averaging $60.33/hide, impacted by ample supplies and subdued demand from south-east Asia. Nevertheless, hide prices were 22% higher year-on-year. The potential value for Meat and Bone Meal (MBM 50) eased 2pc month-on-month, averaging $33.80/head, due to reports of increased availability of US product. Despite this, the average price was marginally (1pc) higher compared with August last year. Beef offal values in August averaged 5pc lower month-on-month and on last year, at $47.31/head, underpinned by lower tongue prices due to greater competition from the US, as well as reduced rumen pillar prices caused by weaker consumer demand in Japan.

 

Beef exports to Korea gain pace

Higher seasonal demand for beef assisted Australian beef exports to Korea during August reaching 12,563 tonnes swt, rising 13pc year-on-year and 19pc on the five-year average. The solid monthly volume was assisted by larger chilled beef shipments, at 3,163 tonnes swt – up 8pc year-on-year and 10pc on the previous month. Chilled beef exports to Korea exceeded 3,000 tonnes swt for the first time since December 2012, largely attributed to increased demand from Korean retailers in preparation for Chuseok. Of the chilled product, chuck roll and blade were the cuts in the highest demand, at 682 tonnes swt (up 25pc year-on-year) and 495 tonnes swt (up 33pc). With a significant (54pc) year-on-year decrease in chilled short rib exports in August, at 222 tonnes swt, chilled ribs as an alternate cut to short ribs were up 82pc, to 240 tonnes swt.

 

China takes 19pc of Aus shipments in August

Australian red meat (beef and veal, lamb, mutton and goat) exports to China during August reached new highs, at 24,465 tonnes swt. The monthly total accounted for 19pc of Australia’s total red meat shipments, compared to only 4pc in August last year (at 4,617 tonnes swt). The record volume was assisted by the highest beef and goat exports to China on record, at 16,192 tonnes swt and 632 tonnes swt, respectively, combined with the second highest sheepmeat exports, at 7,641 tonnes swt. Contributing to the record beef and veal exports during August was an increase in grainfed beef exports, exceeding 2000 tonnes swt for the first time, at 2259 tonnes swt. Overall, the cuts demanded in the largest quantity during August included shin/shank (3,738 tonnes swt), brisket (2,828 tonnes swt) and carcase (2035 tonnes swt). While August exports for these three categories was steady to higher on the previous month, the volume of thick flank/knuckle, was down 10pc on July, at 957 tonnes swt, while topside/inside shipments rose 132pc on July, to 841 tonnes swt.

 

Butcher sales of all meats up in August

Butchers improved their sales of all meats in August, compared with the same month in 2012, according to the latest results from MLA’s butcher survey carried out by Millward Brown. In August, butchers responding to the survey (n=100), noted that sales of beef were better, with 36pc of respondents reporting ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ sales, and 43% noting ‘good’ sales, compared with 28pc and 50pc, respectively, last year. Sales of lamb also improved, with 29pc of butchers stating ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ sales and 43pc reporting ‘good’ sales – this compares with 20pc and 50pc last year. For competitor meats, pork sales improved slightly on August 2012, with 26pc of respondents noting ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ sales and 41pc ‘good’ sales, compared with 23pc and 42pc last year. The reported improvement in chicken sales was impressive, with 47pc of butchers noting ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ sales and 35pc ‘good’ sales. This compares with 26pc and 46pc, respectively, the same time last year. On a month-on-month basis, prices have reportedly continued to ease for most cuts. However, these falls have not yet been large enough on a year-on-year basis at retail, with price trends for all meats mainly remaining higher than the same time last year, with only the selected cut easing in price. When asked about their satisfaction with the quality of meat, positive results were noted, with 71pc of butchers reporting satisfaction as ‘good to excellent’ for non-MSA beef, 94pc for MSA beef, and 84pc for lamb. When asked about the state of their business performance most of the time, 16pc of butchers reported ‘thriving’, 55pc ‘doing ok’ and 29pc ‘usually slow or struggling’.

 

Wild dog impacts on rise

After three recent years of good seasons and excellent breeding conditions, the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group says it is hearing more reports of producers being impacted by wild dogs in areas that have not previously been affected. National Wild Dog Facilitator Greg Mifsud says anecdotal evidence indicates wild dog numbers are increasing, despite industry-wide control efforts. The spread of dog impacts into previously unaffected areas was symptomatic of changes in agriculture and rural demographics, he said. “There is now more variation in enterprises, more lifestyle and hobby farms, and an increase in absentee landholders, which can all contribute to breakdowns in control programs. We’ve also got cultural challenges in trying to engage the wider community to support the various control methods available.” Strategic industry investment targeted at curbing wild dog impacts by Meat and Livestock Australia, the Invasive Animals CRC, AWI and other stakeholders includes funding programs for wild dog research, community engagement, the development of a multi-dose ejector, aerial baiting strategies and the Blue Healer antidote for the accidental poisoning of working dogs by PAPP – a new toxin being developed to complement 1080. “These investments are aimed at developing effective dog control programs into the future that comprise the various jurisdictions working together, using new tools and ensuring ongoing access to the control methods we have available,” LA Environment and National Resource Management Project Manager, Cameron Allan said.

Source: Meat and Livestock Australia

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