IT’S hard to remember the last time Beef Central raised the impact of rain as a potential influence on slaughter patterns, but it’s in prospect over the next seven to ten days in parts of northeastern Australia.
As illustrated here, the Bureau of Meteorology’s eight-day forecast indicates the likelihood of falls of 25-50mm across large areas of eastern and southern Queensland and northern and Central NSW through to August 19.
Lighter falls are predicted in Victoria, Tasmania and eastern parts of South Australia.
Records show the last time we talked about rain and its effect on the north-eastern states’ kills, with any seriousness, was back in mid-April.
While it’s important not to count the chickens before they hatch, large export processors are already reporting fewer direct consignment bookings, as producers anticipate the weather change.
“We don’t have to look at the BOM website – the trend in inquiries for cattle bookings tells us what the forecast is – the phone stops ringing,” one large exporter said yesterday.
“But we’ve got to see the rain, first. An inch or two over the next week might slow things up briefly, but it doesn’t rain grass. Unless there is more follow-up within the next three or four weeks, it will basically come to nothing,” the processor contact said.
Qld public holiday impact
Another impact in rates of kill, this current week at least, will be public holidays associated with Brisbane’s annual Royal Show. Some surrounding southeast Queensland council areas containing large export processing sheds have, or are, scheduling local public show holidays this week, which will inevitably be reflected in lower kill throughput in next Monday’s weekly figures.
When sheds like JBS Dinmore (3300/day), Australian Country Choice (1150/day) and Kilcoy (1050/day) have a dark day, Queensland’s throughput for this week is likely to be back close to 7000 head.
Regardless of the rain impact, that in itself will put a big hole in Queensland’s beef kill next week.
For the week ended Saturday, the National Livestock reporting Service has logged an Eastern States kill of 166,595 head. That’s back another 1.2 percent on the previous week, and represents the smallest weekly kill since the Queen’s birthday holiday shortened week in mid-June.
The two largest beef processing states were the most heavily affected.
Queensland’s kill last week retracted 3pc to 83,202 head (still +9pc compared with this week last year) while NSW was back 6pc to 39,418 head (+7pc on a year ago).
The high NSW result is again due partly to inflows of Queensland slaughter cattle, principally cows, as reported earlier. Further evidence of this comes in the female portion of the state’s kill, at 51.3pc of the overall number.
South Australia’s kill also declined 3pc to 7483 head last week (+6pc on 2013 rates), while Victoria went a little against the trend, rising 4pc last week to 30,184 head – again, supplemented with Queensland-sourced cattle.
Tasmania’s beef kill last week reached 6308 head, a rise of 39pc on the previous week, which on evidence was due to earlier plant closure or weather issues.
Grid prices again unchanged
Direct consignment grid prices for the key indicator area of southeast Queensland have remained remarkably stable again last week, with no significant changes reported.
Many grids have changed little since the short-term adjustment back in early April, following rain.
Prices sourced yesterday indicated grassfed four-tooth Jap ox at 320c/kg, 330c for milk and two-tooth, best cow 290c/kg. Grassfed MSA steer for slaughter ex-SEQ has held up relatively strongly, worth 375c/kg in one quote seen this morning.