MLA Reports

MLA market, trade briefs – 14 Feb 2014

Beef Central, 14/02/2014
  • 2013 beef production reaches 2.4mt
  • Japanese beef consumption in Japan down 1pc
  • Friday daily livestock summary
  • Strong grainfed beef exports to EU
  • Wholesale beef prices trend dearer
  • Dry conditions push prices downward
  • Second largest throughput for the New England region since 2003
  • 2013 – A supply year unlikely to be repeated



2013 beef and veal production reaches 2.4mt

13 February 2014

Total Australian beef and veal production during 2013 reached 2.4 million tonnes, up 10pc on the previous year and 11pc on the five-year average – the largest annual volume of beef produced on record, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

According to the ABS, all states recorded increases in production for the year, with Queensland contributing most to the gains, up 5pc year-on-year, at 1.1mt. Production across NSW was 12pc greater on 2012, totalling 521,000t, while Victoria (417,000t) and SA (115,000tt) produced 21pc and 5pc more beef, respectively, compared with 2012. Aggregate production in WA (106,000t) increased 7pc, while Tasmania (62,000t) recorded a 13pc rise over the same period.

Driving the growth in production levels was the drought-induced surge in slaughter rates, with total Australian adult cattle kills reaching a record 8.3 million head for 2013, up 13pc year-on-year and 11pc compared with the five-year average. Numbers in Queensland (3.9m) contributed the most, 10pc higher on 2012, while NSW (1.8m) and Victoria (1.6m) recorded 16pc and 23pc more cattle slaughtered. Underpinning greater national slaughter levels was the rise in female cattle, with aggregate kills reaching 3.9 million head, up 23pc from the previous year and 14pc on the five-year average. Similarly, male slaughter levels were also higher, totalling 4.4m head, up 6pc year-on-year and 9pc on the five-year comparison.

With production and slaughter rates at considerable highs during 2013, subsequent adult cattle carcase weights reduced 3pc on a year ago, to average 278kg/head for 2013, underpinned by large percentages of lightweight, plain conditioned cattle being sent direct-to-works.



 Beef consumption in Japan down 1pc in 2013

13 February 2014

Japan consumed 864,500 tonnes (boneless equivalent) of beef during 2013, down 1pc from 2012, according to information released by Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation.

By category, consumption of Japanese domestic beef during the year was down 2.4pc, compared with the relatively high 2012 figure.

Consumption of imported beef in 2013 was almost identical with the previous year, at 510,0000t (0.8pc below 2012). Substantial inventories of imported frozen beef – 100,000t, or 32.5pc more than the previous year – were stocked in-market, and another 7600t kept in the bonded warehouse in December, as importers collectively avoided the triggering of a tariff triggering safeguard system. The high volume of imports, and subsequent increase in uncleared inventories, were largely due to the influx of US products into Japan after the relaxation of age protocols in February 2013.


Friday daily livestock summary

14 February 2014

Consignments at Roma prime eased with the majority of the offering consisting of Cows and heifers. The usual Queensland export buyers were present however not all were operating. The 500kg to 600kg grown steers trended dearer with D4 lines selling from 137¢ to 165¢/kg. Medium weight D2 cows eased 2¢ to average 76¢, while D3 lines topped at 128¢ to average close to 117¢/kg. Heavy D3 and 4 score cows eased 1¢ to 2¢, averaging 123¢and 136¢/kg respectively.

Numbers at Dubbo declined with the majority of the yarding consisting of young cattle. Quality was generally plain across all categories although there were limited numbers of well finished trade cattle penned. Medium weight vealer steers to restock averaged 151¢, up 14¢, while light and medium weight yearling steers to feed finished on 155¢/kg. Light yearling heifers to feeder orders lifted 4¢ ranging from 105¢ to 137¢, while medium weight C3 grown steers topped at 152¢ to average 150¢/kg. Medium D3 cows sold from 90¢ to 112¢, back 7¢, while heavy D4 lines topped at 124¢ to average close to 116¢/kg.

Throughput at Bairnsdale consisted of predominately export type cattle with the usual buyers present however not all were operating to capacity. The majority of the heavy vealer steers ranged from 140¢ to 170¢ while medium weight C2 heifers topped at 179¢ to average 156¢/kg. Heavy D4 yearling heifers lifted 4¢ week-on-week finishing on 155¢, while the 500kg to 600kg D3 grown steers averaged 165¢, back 2¢/kg. Heavy manufacturing steers sold from 136¢ to 152¢, while D2 heavy cows averaged 118¢, back 2¢/kg on last week.  


Strong grainfed beef demand boosts exports to the EU

13 February 2014

Australian beef and veal exports to the EU continued to rise in 2014, with shipments during January up 49pc on the previous year, totalling 1296 tonnes – underpinned by firm grainfed beef demand which accounted for 80pc of total exports.

Chilled grainfed beef exports for the past month reached 1039t, up 99pc year-on-year – taking the total volume for the fiscal year-to-date (July 2013 – January 2014) to 7374t – double the volume shipped for the same period in 2012-13. In contrast, beef shipments to Russia declined substantially in January, down 65pc year-on-year, to 262t. Despite the overall decline, chilled beef exports continued to increase, up 23pc year-on-year, to 91t for the same period.


Sustained interest from Korean wholesalers for Australian beef

13 February 2014

While demand from Korean wholesalers for imported beef generally eases after the Lunar New Year, interest in Australian beef remained reportedly high this week. However, this week’s wholesale prices for Australian cuts were steady to slightly lower week-on-week, largely impacted by high stock levels (particularly popular cuts, such as chuck roll and brisket).

Australian chuck roll prices averaged KRW 7,500/kg – down 1pc week-on-week and 4pc year-on-year. Australian brisket prices fell KRW400/kg (or 6pc) on last week, at KRW6,400/kg. However, with expectations of increasing demand for Australian chuck roll and brisket from the school catering sector, prices for these cuts are reportedly anticipated to recover in a month or so. Due to high stock levels and subdued interest, US short rib prices have been steady to lower since mid-December last year, with this week price averaging KRW15,500/kg. The price was 2pc lower than last week but 11pc higher than last year.

Chousun Biz indicated a recovery of Hanwoo prices, as the producers’ intention to increase cattle herd has improved, assisted by Korean consumer preference for Hanwoo and rising prices for imported beef in recent months. Hanwoo carcase wholesale prices this week rose 2pc week-on-week, at KRW13,770/kg; however, the price was 6pc below the start of this year and 5pc lower than 2011. On the back of reported high demand for pork and relatively low stock levels, pig carcase prices were up 6pc on last week, at KRW3674/kg.


Wholesale beef prices trend dearer

13 February 2014

Overall quality this week was fair to good across the beef trade at reported wholesale markets. Demand remained strong enough to ensure total clearances, with rump and loin sales trending dearer. Carton sale volumes continue to gain momentum and reportedly impact fresh carcase demand.

Contrastingly, demand for lamb was reportedly poor. The increased number of heavyweight lambs available failed to attract much interest, with prices struggling to remain steady. Demand for pork was again weaker, with the exception of boneless middles and saddles. Legs and forequarters were the most affected by the weaker enquiry, with prices easing up to 10¢/kg.


Dry conditions and a lift in throughput push prices downward

13 February 2014

The lift in eastern states throughput by 17pc week-on-week has forced cattle prices down across all categories. Cattle quality continues to deteriorate through northern NSW and much of southern Queensland as the drought conditions persist, with restocker interest limited due to the lack of available feed. Feeder operators have also lacked intent at saleyards with reports suggesting most are booked well in advance. At the conclusion of Thursday’s markets the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) slipped 1.5¢ on Wednesday’s levels and 4.25¢ on last week to finish on 287.75¢/kg cwt.

Trade steers declined 7¢ to average 308¢, while the medium steer indicator lost significant ground, back 19¢ week-on-week, averaging 284¢/kg cwt. Heavy steers averaged 310¢, back 11¢, while medium cows continued to struggle averaging around 237¢/kg cwt. The feeder steer indicator was back 2¢ to average 160¢/kg lwt.


Second largest throughput for the New England region since 2003

13 February 2014

The New England region in northern NSW has not seen average rainfall over the past 12 months, which has inevitably seen cattle numbers swell through markets at Gunnedah, Tamworth, Inverell and Armidale – especially in the past few weeks. Producers throughout the region have come to the realisation that they will be unable to hold their usual numbers of stock through winter as the growing season for fodder draws to a close, inevitably driving throughput upward.

Total throughput for this week totalled close to 13,200 head which is the second largest yarding recorded by MLA’s NLRS since January 2003 (14,600 head). The continual turnoff has pressured prices predominately for restocking cattle as supply has outstripped demand. This time of year traditionally sees Queensland producers travelling south to purchase weaners – although due to the widespread drought buyers have stayed away. Despite the large numbers, processors from southern Queensland have been active through southern markets on well finished cattle which are assisting in keeping prices steady for slaughter ready lines.


2013 – A supply year unlikely to be repeated

13 February 2014

While there has been very little change to the key market factors in the first six weeks of 2014, the official Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) slaughter and production figures for 2013 clearly demonstrate just how unprecedented the previous year was regarding the supply and turnoff of cattle, lambs and sheep. Unfortunately, the catalyst for the record year was the widespread drought conditions, which centred in Queensland after the failed 2012-13 wet season and quickly spread to cover the majority of the eastern states by years end.

At an official 8.34 million head, Australian adult cattle slaughter reached its highest annual level since 1978 – exactly 992,000 head greater than in 2012. Illustrating the rapid liquidation of the national herd as drought conditions deepened, the female slaughter jumped 23pc in 2013, to 3.9 million head – or an additional 741,000 head compared with 2012.

The average weight of adult cattle slaughtered contracted 3pc annually, or almost 10kg/head, to 277.4kg/head. Australian beef production hit a record 2.32mt for the year – exceeding the previous high by almost 160,000t, as the proportion of beef and veal exported surged to a record 68.6pc of production.

Punctuated by spreading drought conditions in NSW as the year progressed, lamb slaughter reached a record 21.9m head in 2013 – an increase of 9pc on the previous year, with production hitting 470,000t. As per beef, the additional lamb produced was consumed in export markets, with a record 53.2pc of production exported.

While not reaching the total numbers slaughtered when the Australian flock was much higher, sheep slaughter for 2013 jumped 46pc year-on-year, to 9.6m head.

Given the extent and severity of seasonal conditions in 2013, coupled with preceding years of herd and flock expansion, the turnoff rates witnessed through the past year are very unlikely to be registered again in coming years.


Source: MLA



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