Cat­tle/sheep mar­ket re­ports

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

LOOK­ING back at 2018, the year started off with an el­e­ment of op­ti­mism in the cat­tle mar­ket.

The sea­sonal out­look ap­peared to favour re-stocker buy­ing – in the short-term - with the Eastern Young Cat­tle In­di­ca­tor (EYCI) open­ing the year at 562.75¢/kg car­case weight (cwt), fol­low­ing a pe­riod of con­sol­i­da­tion the year prior.

In­ten­tions were for the herd to con­tinue to re­build and a gen­eral ex­pec­ta­tion that young cat­tle sup­plies would re­main tight through­out the year.

As of mid-last month, the EYCI low for the year was recorded in Au­gust at 444.5c/kg.

Re-stocker buy­ers have largely been spec­ta­tors, as the store mar­ket came un­der pres­sure from the poor sea­son that even­tu­ated.

In Au­gust, NSW was de­clared 100 per cent in drought, and many ar­eas across the eastern se­aboard suf­fered from some of the low­est rain­fall on record dur­ing the win­ter months.

Sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing be­came es­sen­tial for a large pro­por­tion of pro­duc­ers, as pas­ture avail­abil­ity was lim­ited.

Un­for­tu­nately, a poor har­vest un­folded in 2018, which led to ris­ing grain prices and pro­vided no re­prieve for the in­dus­try.

The num­ber of adult cat­tle pro­cessed na­tion­ally for the yearto-Oc­to­ber (lat­est avail­able ABS data) lifted 10 per cent year-onyear, to 6.6 mil­lion head, with the afore­men­tioned con­di­tions el­e­vat­ing turn-off.

Queens­land adult cat­tle slaugh­ter in­creased nine per cent com­pared to the same pe­riod last year, while NSW in­creased 11 per cent year-on-year.

Adult cat­tle slaugh­ter is fore mil­lion head, nine per cent up year-on-year.

Fe­male slaugh­ter – 22 per cent higher year-on-year - has been the driver be­hind el­e­vated slaugh­ter num­bers and the herd re-en­ter­ing a pe­riod of con­trac­tion, as pro­duc­ers had lit­tle choice but to re­duce their breed­ing herd.

The poor sea­son led to com­pe­ti­tion for well-con­di­tioned year pro­gressed.

This was sup­ported by ro­bust over­seas de­mand and a de­pre­cia- tion of the Aus­tralian dol­lar cre­at­ing favourable ex­port trad­ing con­di­tions.

Pro­ces­sor com­pe­ti­tion con­se­quently lifted, and as a re­sult the heavy steer over-the-hook in­di­ca­tor (300–400kg, A-C mus­cle) in Queens­land, NSW and Vic­to­ria gained mo­men­tum dur­ing the year.

Cat­tle on feed at the end of the Sep­tem­ber 2018 quar­ter sur­passed the record set in the June quar­ter, ris­ing to 1.13 mil­lion head, with feed­lots play­ing a drought mit­i­ga­tion role and in turn sup­port­ing beef pro­duc­tion.

some head­winds through­out the year, pri­mar­ily in the form of ris­ing grain costs, as crop yields were hard hit.

De­spite record num­bers of cat­tle on feed, it was not enough to off­set a de­cline in av­er­age adult car­case weight dur­ing the year, as con­di­tions left pro­duc­ers chas­ing weight.

How­ever, the in­creased turnoff will see beef pro­duc­tion in 2018 likely reach close to 2.3 mil­lion tonnes car­case weight, its high­est to­tal since 2015.

from the ad­di­tional prod­uct avail­able, with de­vel­op­ing mar­kets, in par­tic­u­lar Asia, soak­ing up beef from all sup­pli­ers in 2018.

Cal­en­dar year-to-date ex­ports to all mar­kets lifted 12 per cent, to 1.04 mil­lion tonnes shipped weight (swt) rep­re­sent­ing the sixth con­sec­u­tive year of ex­ports ex­ceed­ing one mil­lion tonnes swt.

Many pro­duc­ers that have held onto stock through­out 2018 will be des­per­ate for a turn-around in for­tunes and more con­sis­tent rain­fall in 2019.

males in 2018 has im­pacted the size of the breed­ing herd and po­ten­tial pool of cat­tle avail­able for slaugh­ter next year.

With many feed stock­piles de­pleted a bet­ter than av­er­age north­ern wet sea­son is needed to avoid an­other wave of de­stock­ing.

This month, Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia will re­lease their 2019 Cat­tle In­dus­try Pro­jec­tions, which will pro­vide an up­dated mar­ket out­look, along with in­sights be­hind ex­pec­ta­tions on pro­duc­tion and the key mar­kets to watch for in the New Year.

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