Cold conditions, and forecasts of more to come later this week in some pastoral areas, appears to be one stimulus for another surge in beef slaughter last week.
The National Livestock Reporting Service logged an Eastern States seven-day beef kill of 171,099 head for the week ended Saturday – within sight of the all-time record set back in late May of 171,576 head, up 2pc on the week before.
Queensland recorded a kill of 85,559 head, +1pc on the week previous and still 9pc above this week a year ago. Southeast Queensland processors are reporting an unusually early wave of oats-finished cattle starting to hit the market, following the big early oats planting that took place after drought-breaking rain in late March and early April.
NSW was up 5pc on the week previous at 41,590 head, a whopping 17pc higher than the corresponding kill in 2013.
Victoria’s kill, while down 1pc on a week earlier, was 31pc above where it sat in 2013, as the unusually high rates of kill (by historic seasonal standards) in southern states continues through winter. Part of that can be explained by flows of slaughter cattle out of Queensland heading south for processing, due to a price distinction of 20-30c/kg liveweight in places, which makes the road trip worthwhile.
South Australia’s kill last week followed a similar trend, posting a tally of 8210 head for the week, up 6pc on the week before and still +19pc on 2013 performance.
Tasmania’s kill reached a neat 4900 head, +1pc for the week and +2pc on a year ago.
With winter now more than half complete, producers across Eastern Australia continue to show extreme caution over prospects for a decent spring season, as the El Nino prospect continues to occupy their minds.
Oats crops in many parts of southern Queensland are now badly looking for moisture which could be adding to that sentiment. It’s being reflected not only in the sustained high slaughter cattle turnoff, but also in the store market for lighter restocker cattle, which continues to struggle to find price demand in many regions of Queensland and NSW.
Larger Queensland processors are still reporting heavy direct consignment bookings right through July and August, with some committed heavily right out to September.
Grid prices unchanged
There’s been no substantive change again in southeast Queensland grid prices offered by major processors over the past seven days.
SEQ processor sell prices obtained this morning 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, the same as EU grassfed steer suited to the Hilton quota.