April Beef Production Steady As Victoria Declines

AUSTRALIA - Australia's beef and veal production during April was steady compared with the same period last year, as a two per cent decline in national slaughter was offset by higher average carcase weights.
calendar icon 10 June 2010
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Meat & Livestock Australia

Production for the month reached 175,645 tonnes swt, with year-on-year increases in Queensland and NSW offsetting declines across the remaining states, with the main feature the continued drop in female cattle slaughter in Victoria, reports Meat and Livestock Australia.

Adult cattle slaughter for the month declined two per cent year-on-year, to 632,752 head, with Queensland throughput jumping three per cent over the same period, to 295,525 head. For NSW, while total slaughter declined per cent, average weights surged five per cent on the same period last year, or over 12kg/head, partly reflecting the improved seasonal conditions so far in 2010 across many parts of the state.

For SA and Tasmania, total turnoff for April contracted eight per cent and nine per cent, respectively, year-on-year, while numbers in WA were steady, at around 35,000 head.

Female slaughter cattle in Victoria continued to tighten in April, reaching only 62,813 head - back 31 per cent year-on-year and the lowest monthly volume since July 2006. After a surge in female turnoff in 2008 and the first half of 2009, primarily due to drought induced liquidation and a sharp downturn in dairy returns, female slaughter rates in Victoria have been below year-on-year levels for the past 12 months. Indeed, for the past 12 months (May 2009 - April 2010) Victorian female slaughter totalled 898,000 head, a decline of 18 per cent, or 202,000 head on the previous 12 month period (May 2008 - April 2009).

Assisting the sharp contraction in female turnoff in Victoria over the past year has been the gradual depletion of available female numbers in previous years, better seasonal conditions and rejuvenated prospects for the dairy industry. With seasonal conditions across much of Victoria reasonable heading into winter, female turnoff is expected to remain tight for several months to come, especially if beef herd rebuilding gains momentum.

For April, total Victorian beef and veal production declined 13 per cent year-on-year, with average weights up six per cent, at 256kg/head.

For the first four months of 2010, total Australian beef and veal production was four per cent below the corresponding period in 2009, with a five per cent decline in adult slaughter partly offset by a one per cent increase in average national carcase weights.

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