Fig­ures sum up sea­son

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT -

THE first quar­ter of 2018 is done and dusted and Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia has re­leased some in­ter­est­ing fig­ures on sheep and cat­tle cov­er­ing that pe­riod.

The na­tional cat­tle yard­ings for the first quar­ter in were 19 per cent higher year on year, with NSW and Queens­land numbers up 31 per cent and 33 per cent re­spec­tively, while Vic­to­ria and Western Aus­tralia de­clined 4 per cent.

The num­ber of adult cat­tle pro­cessed in the east­ern states for the Jan­uary to March pe­riod was up 4 per cent from the same time last year, but down 9 per cent on 2016 lev­els.

In NSW, the kill was up 7 per cent while Queens­land was up 2 per cent. In Vic­to­ria numbers pro­cessed in­creased by 20 per cent. In South Aus­tralia the fig­ure fell 32 per cent – this co­in­cided with a fire at Thomas Foods In­ter­na­tional at Mur­ray Bridge, which has closed the abat­toir un­til it is re-built.

Price lev­els were in­ter­est­ing with the East­ern States Young Cat­tle in­di­ca­tor av­er­ag­ing 544c/kg car­cass weight, down 14 per cent on last year but 19 pre cent above the five-year aver­age for the March quar­ter.

It should be noted this fig­ure has been mainly driven by re­stocker and feeder ac­tiv­ity with slaugh­ter prices much closer to the 500c/kg mark.

Now to lambs and sheep. The east­ern states lamb slaugh­ter for the quar­ter lifted 2 per cent, un­der­pinned by larger numbers in Vic­to­ria and NSW (the Mur­ray Bridge fire would have an ef­fect). Lamb prices have held up very well with av­er­ages around 623c/kg while mut­ton prices av­er­aged 415c/kg car­cass weight.

Now to this week’s trends and we see lamb av­er­ages have well and truly dipped un­der 600c/kg with prices on Wednesday at Hamil­ton, even with lower numbers eas­ing $5 to $10 a head. Most trade weights av­er­aged 570c/kg to 575c/kg and ex­tra heavy pens 555c/kg car­cass weight.

The very dry sea­son in Vic­to­ria and much of NSW is bring­ing more lambs to the mar­ket and qual­ity is only aver­age in most sa­le­yards.

I wonder if the lamb numbers will con­tinue into the win­ter or whether we sud­denly see a short­age. Re­mem­ber most for­ward con­tract prices are in the 630/kg to 650c/kg range for win­ter kill. Time will tell.

At least the value of the Aus­tralian cur­rency com­pared with the US dol­lar is com­fort­able at the mo­ment. Now it is just a mat­ter of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump clos­ing his Twit­ter ac­count.

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