Weekly kill: Numbers continue to flow, due to worsening conditions

Jon Condon, 19/09/2017

RATES of slaughter across eastern Australia continue to defy earlier predictions that numbers would slow during the third quarter this year, as the dry conditions in many grazing areas turn from serious to desperate.

Last week’s eastern states slaughter tally reported by NLRS logged 134,583 head for the week to Friday, the largest kill since mid-July.

All states were considerably higher than the week before, and the combined five-state figure was a hefty 15 percent higher than this time last year, after widespread winter rain had fallen.

Large export processors spoken to this morning said they were reasonably well covered for the next week or two, but continue to brace themselves for the inevitable slump, after the current drought-induced turnoff ruins its course.

Several remarked on the decline seen in weight, quality and finish on boner and manufacturing cows in the past week.

Grids have remained unchanged for the second week, in the face of the relatively plentiful supply of slaughter stock across Queensland and parts of NSW.

Quotes seen this morning from competitive southern Queensland plants ranged from to 460-490c/kg on four-tooth grassfed ox, and 420-430c/kg on heavy cows.

A northern NSW export plant had offers out this morning for kills week commencing 25 September of 450c/kg on four-tooth HGP-free steer and 400c/kg top sell on full-mouth cows.

Grainfed cattle continue to underpin kill rosters in many cases, given the number of cattle placed on feed earlier.

Given the savage slide seen in the store market in the past six weeks due to weather, processors of grainfed cattle have been left with some very expensive GF cipher meat around them – some of it bought at rates closer to 580-600c/kg carcase weight. More on that in Beef Central’s popular upcoming 100-day grainfed trading budget.

Queensland’s kill last week reached almost 70,000 head, up 2pc on the previous week, and +12pc year-on-year; while the NSW kill at a little over 32,000 head was 4pc and 21pc higher, respectively.

Victoria processed almost 21,600 head last week, +5pc on the previous week and 18pc higher than this week in 2016; while South Australia at 7100 was 14pc above the week before.

Some short killing weeks ahead in the next couple of weeks, with the national public holiday the week after next, and Butcher’s Picnic holidays at a number of large Queensland sheds next week, which should slow output a little until October, despite the desperately dry weather.




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