Wet weather has again played havoc with cattle processing performance across eastern Australia, with substantial declines recorded last week in most states monitored by the National Livestock Reporting Service.
The current slaughter year is now shaping up as one of the most disrupted by weather conditions in recent memory – certainly for the accumulated time involved – with frequent cattle sale cancellations, reductions in sale offerings, and difficulty in simply getting cattle out of paddocks and into processors’ yards and holding paddocks.
While the 2011 year also had its moments in terms of rain impact on processing operations, 2012 is shaping up far worse, and is now almost 4 percent behind last year’s slaughter tally, year to date.
As reported on Monday on Beef Central, the latest unseasonal rain influence was felt from North Queensland to southern Victoria and Tasmania.
The overall Eastern states kill reached 128,572 head, down about 7 percent on a week earlier.
The New South Wales tally was negative 4pc for the week at 30,900 head, still 9pc shy of this time last year. Victorian and South Australian processors recorded 6pc declines, reaching tallies of 18,204 head and 6079 head respectively. Tasmania was minus 4pc for the week, at 3747 head.
Despite drenching rain in parts of Queensland, it managed to hold its kill at previous week rates, processing 69,642 head. Widespread falls across Central Queensland from Longreach east averaged 100mm, with up to 150mm further north around Julia Creek – extraordinary July rain, by any standards. Falls in the Wide Bay/Burnett were generally less, but still averaged around 50mm in many areas.
Large export plants at Mackay, Rockhampton and Biloela all skipped shifts last week. JBS Dinmore also lost half a day on Monday last week due to ongoing industrial action.
Expect to see another huge weather impact on kills in the current week. Teys Australia, alone, had no kill occurring whatsoever yesterday at its four large plants at Beenleigh, Rockhampton, Biloela or Naracoorte. Processors are anticipating that given the accumulation of recent rain, it will take some time for paddocks to dry out sufficiently for cattle movements to rebuild.
At a local level, Queensland’s kill this week is likely to see an impact from Graeme and Jenny Acton’s annual Paradise Lagoons campdraft, which draws thousands of cattlemen and women from across the state for a three day program, leaving many drafting yards unattended.
While standing dry feed may suffer a quality setback from latest rain, it sets many producers up nicely for a solid start to spring, once soil temperatures start to rise.
Following on from a massive 10,000 head yarding at Roma store sale last week, agents expect to draw for only about 1500 head this week, as a result of the rain.
South East Queensland grids this week were mixed, with one major exporter holding earlier rates as recently as yesterday, while another had lifted all descriptions 5c, due to the rain impact, in an effort to flush cattle out. Several company grids in the south rose 10c in recent days, driven by both the seasonal shortage of cattle and weather. That could in turn push more southern processors north, looking for cheaper cattle.
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