AUSTRALIA – Back to back contraction in national beef production is adequate confirmation that Australia is entering a long-term downward trend, say market analysts.
Continued drought conditions and high cattle prices have, until August, supported high culling rates across the board, although figures suggest the industry has run out of steam in the last two months.
The effect has been a two year switch-around from boom to bust, leaving cattle numbers at a 20 year low.
Meat and Livestock Australia, which has reported lower US beef exports in recent months, has said a long-term downward trend is ‘more than likely’ and that rebuilding will be slow.
July production inched lower, followed by bigger - seven per cent - fall in cattle slaughter in August. August adult cattle slaughter was 738,850, 51 per cent of which was cows and heifers.
Responding to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, MLA said: “With an extraordinarily high proportion of females slaughtered for the year-to-August, herd rebuilding is inevitably going to be a slow process over the coming years.”
Dry and warmer than average weather, among the reasons for high culling earlier in the year, are set to continue into October for much of the country. Bureau of Meteorology expectations through December are for a drier than average three months in the south east and above median rainfall for central and Western Australia.
An MLA spokesperson said: “Daytime temperatures over the three-month period are likely to be warmer than average across southern Australia and into central Queensland, while northern WA and central NT are expected to experience cooler than average days.
“With an extraordinarily high proportion of females slaughtered for the year-to-August, herd rebuilding is inevitably going to be a slow process over the coming years.”
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