Eastern States beef processing rates continued their steady post-Christmas recovery last week, rising about 14 percent on a week earlier to reach 118,965 head.
The National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States kill report for the week ended January 20, showed that meatworks throughput is still a long way from full production, when closer to 150,000 head per week can be seen at the height of the season.
Some larger export plants are only now commencing their 2012 seasons, and at reduced shifts. Teys Australia’s Beenleigh factory performed its first kill on Friday, and boned those carcases on Monday this week, while JBS Rockhampton also started its chain on Monday.
While weather caused a few isolated disruptions to processing last week, another early season handbrake on the rate of processing is the larger than normal inventory of beef carried over from late 2011.
This was built up by exporters and wholesalers before Christmas because of concerns about the prospects of a repeat of the January/February 2011 flood disruptions to cattle supply, which so far has not eventuated this summer. Those stocks are expected to clear fairly quickly.
Unlike this time last year when the devastating floods swept through the region from Central Queensland to southern NSW, there have been only mild weather disruptions to cattle movements so far in 2012, both in northern or southern Australia.
State kills all strengthen
Queensland’s kill last week reached 51,616 head, a solid 28 percent rise on a week earlier as more plants recommenced their operations. The figure was also up 49pc on the same week last year as the impact of the January floods was being felt in earnest.
The NSW weekly kill to Friday reached 33,139 head, up an additional 9pc on the previous reporting period. Victoria’s kill reached 21,430 head, up 1pc; while South Australia’s tally of 8677 was + 2pc and Tasmania’s number of 4103 head was +2pc.
The current week’s processing throughput will be impacted by holiday closures at many sites for Australia Day on Thursday, but then there are then no national holiday disruptions until Easter Friday, April 6.
As outlined in a separate article this morning, a return to full week kills and larger throughputs in coming weeks will further test the cattle market, currently undergoing a major correction.
- • The NLRS Eastern States Young Cattle Indicator closed yesterday at 397c/kg, down 6.5c on Friday’s figure and back 14.75c on this time last week. The heavy steer indicator (185.3c) is down 8c on a week ago, while medium cows (146.3c) are back 2c.