Cat­tle sup­plies to stay tight

Central Queensland News - - RURAL WEEKLY -

CAT­TLE sup­plies are likely to re­main tight in 2018 with only a small in­crease ex­pected in adult slaugh­ter to 7.4 mil­lion head as the herd re­build con­tin­ues, ac­cord­ing to Meat & Live­stock Aus­tralia’s 2018 Cat­tle In­dus­try Pro­jec­tions.

MLA’s mar­ket in­tel­li­gence man­ager Scott Tolmie said the dry win­ter and spring across many parts of Aus­tralia saw a higher than ex­pected turn-off in the sec­ond half of 2017, tem­po­rar­ily halt­ing the herd re­build­ing ef­forts of pro­duc­ers in af­fected ar­eas.

“This has meant many young cat­tle were pushed into feed­lots in 2017 due to lack of de­cent pas­ture – stock that oth­er­wise would have been fin­ished in the pad­dock and come to mar­ket in 2018,” Mr Tolmie said.

“This is part of the rea­son there is an ex­pec­ta­tion of tighter slaugh­ter num­bers than pre­vi­ously fore­cast in 2018, as these pro­duc­ers, par­tic­u­larly in Queens­land, look to rekin­dle re­build­ing ef­forts.

“If the three-month rain­fall out­look from the Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy comes to fruition for Fe­bru­ary to April, it is likely to see tight sup­plies in cer­tain re­gions, par­tic­u­larly through the mid part of the year.”

Mr Tolmie said car­case weights were ex­pected to ease back in line with long-term trends af­ter a record year in 2017 when car­case weights av­er­aged 298kg.

“An eas­ing of car­case weights, com­bined with a fore­cast in­crease in slaugh­ter, is ex­pected to re­sult in to­tal beef pro­duc­tion this year lift­ing 1 per cent to 2.17 mil­lion tonnes cwt,” Mr Tolmie said.

“That’s an in­crease on both 2016 and 2017 fig­ures, but well down on the drought im­pacted lev­els of 20132015. Over­all, the mod­est in­crease in slaugh­ter is ex­pected to more than out­weigh the an­tic­i­pated drop in car­case weights.”

Adrop in the num­ber of cat­tle on feed is ex­pected af­ter a record year in 2017.

Mr Tolmie said 2018 was shap­ing up as a chal­leng­ing year for Aus­tralian beef ex­ports, with ex­pected in­creases in pro­duc­tion and ex­ports.

PHOTO: SU­SANNA FREYMARK

LIVE­STOCK MAR­KET: 2018 could be a tough year for cat­tle pro­duc­ers.

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