Australian cattle slaughter remains elevated

Planned shutdowns coming to an end
calendar icon 31 July 2023
clock icon 1 minute read

Elevated year-on-year slaughter has been occurring most weeks across Australian cattle, sheep and lamb markets this year, according to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). Increased supply on the market and cheaper livestock prices have led to processors filling contracts weeks in advance.

During winter, yardings generally tighten. Most processors take this time to complete their shutdown and maintenance periods, hence the significant decrease in slaughter numbers every winter. These planned shutdown periods are now coming to an end, with most processors back online. As a result, there was a lift in slaughter numbers this week (according to NLRS data released on Wednesday 26 July).

Cattle slaughter strengthened 2.4% week-on-week, 20% higher than the same week last year. Queensland plants have been able to maintain fairly stable slaughter over the last month, supporting the easing in numbers in southern states.

NSW dipped to 28,607 head last week and has now increased by 11% week-on-week. National numbers are up by 28% or 685,175 head year-to-date, indicating the current supply on the market.

National female slaughter reached 48.5% this week, with some states (NSW, Victora and WA) recording very high female percentages. Low female slaughter in Queensland is bringing the national average down. Victorian female slaughter is usually much higher than in other states, as most of the dairy herd is in Victoria.

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