Eastern States beef kills continued their inexorable decline last week, as available supply shows signs of exhaustion after two extraordinary years of cattle turnoff.
The National Livestock Reporting Service recorded a seven-day kill of 152,400 head, down another 2.9 percent on the week previous.
The biggest factor was a very large 6pc decline in Queensland’s tally, down to just over 80,000 head. The state’s figure was -9pc on this time last year.
Short weeks at some large Qld export plants, as discussed in last week’s kill report, are now contributing to a more substantial decline in throughput in the northern state.
With the exception of NSW, southern states followed a similar trend.
Victoria was back marginally, week-on-week, to 24,319 head – a huge 23pc decline on the same week last year – while South Australia was -7pc for the week at 9463 head.
The 49pc decline in weekly kill registered in Tasmania (2048 head) was due to one factor – HW Greenham’s annual seasonal closure for the first week in September at its Smithton plant in the state’s northwest. Nevertheless, Tasmania was still 6pc behind this week last year, when the same circumstance applied.
September is traditionally a strong month for oats finished cattle, and while they are in evidence in many central and southern Queensland kill rosters at present, volume is not particularly significant.
It may be that the biggest wing of oats cattle is running a little late this season for two reasons: recent rain, which may push oats crops along in those areas that received it; and the fact that many young cattle were backward in condition going onto oats earlier this year.
There were no major changes to southeast Queensland grid offers this week, after some plants raised rates a fortnight ago to try to maintain slaughter cattle flows.
“It’s not a price issue at present – it’s just that the cattle are no longer there to source, in any great numbers,” a processing contact said this morning.
Current SEQ grids have best heavy cows at 505-510c/kg, depending on location, with heavy grassfed steer, fourth teeth at 530-535c, and milk/two tooths5c better than that.