Weekly kill: Weather continues to impact kills, while CQ rates drop 10c

Jon Condon, 05/03/2024

WEATHER continues to play a part in slaughter cattle livestock access in Queensland and northern NSW this week, as it has for most of the first couple of months of the new year.

Processors report further localised disruptions in getting cattle to plants, largely caused by small top-up storm rainfall after earlier instalments. Having said that, some parts of Southeast Queensland have received up to 100mm in big falls since the weekend.

That hasn’t let country that received bigger falls earlier start to dry out, and its shortened-up rosters for some large export plants heading into March. Several plants lost 6-9 decks overnight for kills scheduled this week.

The flipside is that Easter-shortened processing activity is now within the sights of most livestock managers, with consecutive four-day working weeks ahead. In the case of JBS Dinmore, it will have a three-day working week, the week after Easter, with its two four-day shifts currently not operating on Fridays.

One large multi-site Queensland processor said while getting secured cattle out of the paddock continued to be a nuisance, his company was now close to securing its requirements up to the Easter weeks.

CQ prices drift 10c

While the general trend in direct consignment slaughter cattle pricing this week is ‘no change,’ the exception to that is a 10c/kg reduction in pricing for the three large export plants operating in Central Queensland – Teys Lakes Creek and Biloela, and JBS Rockhampton.

All three are now 10c/kg behind rates in southern parts of Queensland, reflecting the growing numbers coming forward out of the region.

It means CQ plants this week show 490c/kg on direct consignment heavy cows, and 540c/kg on four-tooth grass ox, with an implant. Southern Queensland is 10c, higher, at 500c and 550c.

Historically, CQ plants have always been 10c/kg behind the concentrated processing activity in the state’s southeast corner, accounting for the freight differential. Up to this week, though, CQ and SQ plants have been on the same money in 2024, reflecting the state of local supply.

There’s a line somewhere around Wandoan/Theodore which typically provides the tipping-point between consigning cattle to Central or Southern QLD plants, in freight terms. Growing kills in the state’s southeast (reference this earlier story about Dinmore’s second shift) may be another factor.

Over time, that ‘Goyder line’ may be changing. One contact this week suggested the freight rate on CQ cows (past Rockhampton) 280kg carcase weight may now be more than 15c/kg to access higher-paying plants in southeast Queensland.

In the feeder market, flatback heavy feeders sourced out of the paddock this week are making 350c/kg in southern Queensland, unchanged from last week. Angus ex Downs are trading at 360c/kg.

Most grainfed supply chains now appear to have gathered a few more feeders around them, having struggled to pen cattle during earlier wet weeks. Getting bought feeders out of the wet paddock to the feedyard induction pen is currently the challenge for some.

Saleyards numbers grow

There was a general upwards trend in physical saleyard offerings of slaughter-type cattle across eastern and southern Australia early this week.

Gunnedah sale this morning offered 3800, almost 1000 more than last week. Heavy grown steers and cows experienced little change, with heavy cows averaging 216-240c.

Wodonga yarded 1900 this morning, much the same as last week. Market conditions showed some volatility, particularly in the heavy export category, resulting in a price dip of 5-8c/kg. Heavy steers and bullocks fetched prices ranging from 250-296c/kg, while heavy heifers topped at 294c. In the cow market, buyers were cautious, resulting in a 10-12c decrease in prices. Heavy cows ranged from 230-282c/kg.

Roma yarded around 5600 this morning (report to come) and Dalby tomorrow expects 5400, while Tamworth yarded 2500 yesterday, up from 1500 last week.

In the case of Tamworth and Gunnedah, at least, rising numbers are partly due to country starting to dry off, local agents said.






Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


  1. Angus Geddes, 07/03/2024

    Thank you for your reports, Jon

  2. Paul Franks, 05/03/2024

    If the processors actually offered producers real money they might find producers might actually be willing to get cattle to them for processing. And from what I hear it would not take a lot of extra to find producers willing to sell.

    After the large increase in input costs over the past three years, continuing to offer what they were offering five years ago during a raging drought is leaving a sour taste in producers mouths. Especially in light of all the au dollar is only at US$0.65, the price of 90CL going up and up. The overseas storage of beef has been pretty much diminished and the reporting last week that grainfed forward contracts are already at $7/kg.

    Generic 2 tooth Jap steers should be over $6/kg.

    There’s a term called “wet weather money” Paul, that processors sometimes offer when supply is compromised by rainfall. Feedlots also play an important role when processors are tight, because they are almost always on all-weather roads.
    According to our records, Qld processors in week 10 of 2019 (week commencing 11 March, during the heavy supply drought period drought) were paying 375c/kg on slaughter cows and 470c/kg on four-tooth grass steer. Compare that with this week’s quotes of 500c on cows (+125c) and 550c on ox (+80c). Editor

    • Paul Franks, 06/03/2024

      Perhaps they were paying that in March, but they were not by August and certainly not by December 2019 and that was all the pre-covid absurdity.

      If you want to argue over time frames in October 2016 the offers were above today’s offers.

Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -