Weekly kill: QLD grid prices continue to soften

Jon Condon, 02/03/2021

FURTHER downwards corrections have been seen in slaughter grid offers from Queensland processors this week – typically between 10c/kg and 20c/kg on heavy steers and cows on offers made the week before.

Competitive offers before discounts from Queensland processors this morning included 650-670c/kg on four-tooth heavy steers, and heavy cows 580-590c/kg. Grainfed spot 100-day cattle are 675c/kg this week, back 10c.

Dry weather across substantial parts of Queensland are pushing a few more cattle towards processors, easing the slaughter supply challenge a little heading into March.

As of this week, all of Queensland’s significant processing sites are back at work, with JBS Townsville starting its chain for 2021 yesterday. Teys Lakes Creek at Rockhampton started operations on Monday last week, and NH Foods Borthwicks at Mackay recommenced operations a week ago, after a two-week break.

Prolonged tough trading conditions in export markets is also a factor in current slaughter cattle pricing decisions, Beef Central was told, with Australian beef struggling to compete with cheaper alternatives out of South America and the US, despite its excellent market reputation for quality, consistency and traceability.

Currency is also impacting on the competitiveness of Australian export beef versus alternatives from South and North America, trading at US77.8c this morning, and pushing as high as US80c late last week.

As mentioned in today’s monthly exports report for February, a sure sign of the difficulties in the export beef trade at present is the abundance of beef that’s ‘defaulting’ back into the domestic wholesale market. Separate story on that in coming days.

The adjustments in grid pricing this week mean cows have now retracted 40c/kg in a series of corrections since early February, and steers are back by 40c/kg from their recent high-point at 690c. It means a typical 330kg grassfed heavy steer is still worth $2145 a head, however, and a 300kg cow, $1740. It’s just that in comparison with red-hot weaner cattle prices above $1000 a head paid in recent weeks, slaughter cattle prices start to look less impressive.

Southern states grid offers have remained firm this week, with processor offers in southern NSW and eastern parts of South Australia showing four-tooth heavy steers 675c/kg, and heavy cows 610c – both now significantly higher than Queensland.

Beef kill tops 100,000 – but only just

The weekly eastern states beef slaughter report issued by NLRS this morning shows numbers for the week ended Friday topped 100,000 for the first time this year – but only just.

The five eastern states recorded an adult cattle slaughter of 100,875 head, up 1pc on the previous week, but still 15pc below this time last year.

All states remain well behind 2020 kills at the same time of year. Queensland’s kill at 50,752 head was 8pc higher than the previous week, as more Central and Northern Queensland plants return to work, but 4pc down on last year.

NSW fell to 25,526 head, back 20pc on last year, while Victoria (17,944 head) was 31pc behind the equivalent week in 2020. South Australia logged a weekly kill of 3209 head, down 32pc on last year, while Tasmania was 7pc behind in year-on-year comparisons, at 3464 head.





















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