Weekly kill: Mid-winter slaughter grids find a level

Jon Condon, 25/07/2023

THE balance between slaughter cattle supply/demand, and added factors like processing labour capacity, appears to have found a level of equilibrium this week, with few changes reported in direct consignment grid offers across Eastern Australia.

National adult cattle beef slaughter during July has averaged close to 122,000 head a week, easily the highest and most consistent production seen since the end of the drought.

There was little evidence of adjustments in prices from Central Queensland all the way to Victoria and South Australia this morning, following some 10c/kg downwards movements in some offers the week before.

Several Queensland processors reported more weather-related supply challenges this past week, with rainfall of up to 50mm recorded through parts of Central Queensland causing some re-direction and re-scheduling in kills at plants all the way from Brisbane to Rockhampton.

Competitive export processors in Queensland’s south have heavy cows quoted this morning at 430c-440c/kg, with four-tooth grass export steer at 505-520c, depending on location. Deduct 10c/kg from those rates for kills in Central Queensland.

Speciality lines like certified grassfed yearling, no HGP are currently making around 580c/kg in the southern Queensland market.

What’s evident is that forward bookings are not as congested as they were only a three ago, with plenty of sites now taking bookings a fortnight in advance, instead of three to four weeks.

There’s been some renewed southern buying activity north of the Queensland border over the past week, ranging from better quality steer lines to cows and bulls.

Southern states grids seen this morning have 555c/kg quoted for grassfed four-tooth ox in South Australia and southern NSW, with cows at 450c/kg in competitive grids in the region.

That compares with saleyards trends at sites like Wodonga earlier today, which saw good bullocks making 260-314c/kg liveweight (560c/kg dressed equivalent at the better end) and cows 30c/kg dearer at 240-288c/kg live.

Gunnedah sale earlier today saw numbers double to 2100 head, with signs that oats crops are running out. Heavier processor type steers sold to 276c/kg, and the better heavy cows 213c.

Weekly slaughter statistics for the week ended Friday will be published in a separate article tomorrow, after they are released by NLRS.



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