THE return of JBS to the slaughter cattle market this week has seen little or no substantive change to direct consignment grid pricing, having missed offering quotes since the company’s dramatic cyber attack back on 30 May.
Most JBS Australian processing plants returned to work on Monday or Tuesday last week, having lost a week’s production due to the cyber attack. This caused a backlog of slaughter cattle, especially grainfeds, which the company is still working its way through this week.
It re-issued direct consignment slaughter grids on Monday, more or less picking up where it left off at the end of May, before the attack took place.
Best offers seen for direct consignment grassfed heavy ox in the southern Queensland region this morning were 665-680c/kg for four-tooth cattle (some of those higher quotes HGP-free only), and ranging from 610-625c for heavy cows.
The upper end of those cow quotes represent another record high for processors in Queensland, and reflects the recent sharp rises seen in manufacturing beef pricing into the US and other export markets.
Offers from Central Queensland plants are 10c/kg below those rates this week.
Frost impact on pastures in susceptible areas is pushing a few more slaughter cattle to market in Queensland and NSW this week, processors say, and there is momentum being seen in large runs of western and northern cattle from extensive pastoral areas.
Most Queensland plants appear to be running five days this week, albeit at reduced numbers per shift. Many southern plants, approaching the mid-winter slump in supply, are killing four days this week, Beef Central was told.
Further south, export processors in southern regions of NSW are offering 695c/kg on heavy four-tooth grass steers and 620c/kg on heavy cows, while eastern regions of South Australia have four-tooth steers at 695c, and heavy cows a record-equalling 640c/kg.
Similar prices between northern and southern states at present mean that very few northern cattle are being pulled south by processors in Victoria or southern NSW in the current market – despite normally being a common occurrence at this time of year due to local cattle seasonal supply.
Certified grassfed supply challenge
Premium certified grassfed lines continue to attract very high prices, with offers from 720c/kg to 750c/kg seen in different parts of the country this week.
Some processors are expressing concern about certified grassfed slaughter supply coming into spring, due to the number of young cattle (in a period of heavily constricted supply) that have been directed into the feeder steer market this year due to eye-catching prices for grain-finishing.
It potentially leaves a deficit in some certified grassfed beef programs later in the year, processors say.
A good example was seen at Roma store sale this morning, where five pens of Angus feeder steers around 400kg, numbering around 100 head in total, made 504c/kg this morning – well over $2000 per head.
That partly reflects the lack of black cattle being sold in southern states at present, having finished their normal late-summer autumn seasonal turnoff. Most southern Angus breeders will not start turning off their next crop until around late August-September, leaving a big ‘shadow’ in the feeder markets for better black cattle around mid-year.
Those steers sold at Roma this morning are destined for 150-200 day branded beef program business, Beef Central was told.
The ‘Angus premium’ on the five pens of steers amounted to about 70c/kg – over a normal premium in the 30-40c/kg range, Beef Central was told, due to current lack of supply.
- NLRS had not supplied last week’s National Cattle Slaughter summary by the time this item was posted this afternoon. Statistics will be added here when they arrive.