Weekly kills find a level in the 130’s

Jon Condon, 01/03/2016

WEEKLY beef kills across the five eastern states appear to have found a ‘natural level’ in this year’s drastically reduced cattle supply environment in the 130,000-140,000 head range, and don’t look likely to rise substantially any time soon.

MSA grading 3 - CopyLast week’s seven-day tally to Friday reported by the National Livestock Reporting Service followed this trend, with a figure of 138,541 head recorded for the week.

Hot, dry weather and no immediate sign of a monsoonal influence pushed a few more slaughter cattle to market last week, perhaps fuelled also by 5-10c/kg rises in some Queensland and northern NSW processor grids.

Queensland’s seven-day tally to Friday rose 8pc to 63,468 head, still 16pc behind this time last year.

NSW was +3pc for the week at 33,135 head, back 21pc year-on-year, while Victoria was marginally lower on 28,515 head, a drop of 11pc on 2015.

South Australia’s kill lifted 6pc last week to 8630 head (-16pc on last year) while Tasmania was all-square at 4793 head, a 4pc decline on last year’s equivalent kill.

Grid prices in the nation’s biggest concentration of processing in southeast Queensland and northern NSW was largely unchanged this week, following 5-10c rises a week earlier.

Direct consignment quotes seen this morning had four-tooth heavy grassfed ox today at 520c; 525c for 0-2 teeth; 465-475c for heavy cows top cell; EU grassfed steer 535-550c; 100-day steer 525c (up 5); MSA steer 550c; and PCAS steer 580c.

While the recent grid rises have apparently pushed a few more cattle forward onto kill rosters, one large export processor said the result in terms of bookings was “very limited.” Several indicated that the rise was more defensive, to ensure there was no ‘leakage’ to competitors, rather than any determined bid to build slaughter numbers.

Many large Queensland sheds this week are continuing to operate on greatly limited throughput.

JBS Dinmore this week was aiming to complete seven of its ten normal weekly shifts, while Teys Beenleigh was looking to operate three or four days only. Other plants like NH Foods Oakey are still on minimum daily throughput.

It’s looking increasingly likely that JBS will start its northern kill season at the company’s Stuart plant neat Townsville as planned on Wednesday, 30 March – straight after the Easter break. Beef Central understands that cattle are now being stockpiled for what’s turning out to be a very late seasonal start.


See this morning’s separate discussion on female slaughter.




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