Australia

Australia: cattle and sheep production increases

Following the release of the September quarter slaughter and production data from ABS, MLA’s Market Insights team has compiled an in-depth analysis for red meat producers.

Posted on Dec 05 ,04:30

Australia: cattle and sheep production increases

National male carcase weights have remained firm quarter-on-quarter at 348 kg but production has increased. Male cattle slaughter increased 6% in Q3, putting it at the second highest on record and delivering an increase in production. Favourable seasonal conditions around much of Australia has seen many of these cattle come to weight with new season stock maturing and hitting the market.

The carcase weights coming out of Victoria have seen a 3% increase. With slaughter in the state also increasing, production was able to lift 7% quarter-on-quarter. Queensland weights remained firm as the third highest on record while NSW softened. Production for male cattle in NSW softened 4% but was still 5% higher year-on-year.

Female national carcase weights have moved the opposite way and softened by nearly 2.5kg/head. Production still strengthened by 4,245 tonnes on last quarter. Supply into the processing sector remains steady, even with rain events making accessibility difficult. The female slaughter rate remains at 44%, indicating that Australia is still in a rebuild phase.

National bobby calf production has lifted 111% from last quarter with a strengthening in slaughter by 108% on Q2 volumes. This quarter normally sees a large increase in bobby calf production as dairy cattle are calving.

Sheep production increases have been the most noticeable, with a 19% strengthening on last quarter. Both national slaughter and carcase weights improved significantly, lifting production figures. Victoria, one of the largest sheep-producing states, saw significant increases in sheep slaughter and production despite wet weather events in the state. Victoria increased slaughter by 43% on last quarter, an improvement of 24% year-on-year. Production in the state strengthened by 53% showing the increased availability of mutton on the market. Throughput through the indicator has been increasing since July with prices softening. Grid prices for sheep have also been coming back as processors prioritise lamb production.

Although national lamb slaughter increased 2% there was a 1% softening in production. This is due to the slight decrease in carcase weights on last quarter. This is coming off the back of high weights earlier in the year, although average national carcase weights remain still 6% higher year-on-year. Lamb production in South Australia eased 12%, with a 50% improvement in goat production in the state. A movement to the processing of other small stock takes up kill floor space for lamb production in the SA. The largest lamb producing state, Victoria, remained firm quarter-on-quarter with both carcase weights and production improving by 1%.

Goat carcase weights have increased since last quarter with the movement towards more managed systems and greater interest in the genetics. The 8% national increase in carcase weights, coupled with a 46% increase in slaughter, improved production significantly to 7,654 tonnes for Q3. This saw production increase 31% year-on-year, even though carcase weights have declined during the same period.

Interest in goatmeat production continues to rise and demand remains strong from the USA. Goat exports have increased 28% year-on-year, with the USA, South Korea and Taiwan as the top destinations. Exports to the USA alone have increased 15% year-on-year.

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