Aussie Beef Production Levels Out in March

AUSTRALIA - Australian beef and veal production reached 196,874 tonnes cwt in March; steady year-on-year following eight per cent declines in both January and February, with adult cattle slaughter reaching 703,000 head (ABS).
calendar icon 13 May 2010
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Meat & Livestock Australia

Production for March declined five per cent year-on-year in Queensland (90,047 tonnes cwt), as lower turnoff and increased competition from restockers and feeders resulted in fewer cattle to processors. However, the lower Queensland throughput was countered by an eight per cent lift in NSW (47,063 tonnes cwt), and one per cent in Victoria (33,773 tonnes cwt). Production also rose 18 per cent in SA (10,313 tonnes), 11 per cent in WA (29,351 tonnes) and three per cent in Tasmania (4,938 tonnes), respectively.

However, production for the first quarter of 2010 (January to March) finished five per cent below the same period last year, at 497,815 tonnes cwt. Queensland was the main contributor to the decline, falling 11 per cent year-on-year, to 208,306 tonnes cwt, as the very wet start to the year limited the availability of cattle.

Male cattle slaughter for the March quarter declined four per cent year-on-year, to 914,000 head. Female slaughter contracted eight per cent over the same period, to 877,000 head, reflecting the combination of increased buying from restockers and reduced turnoff due to the better season. The reduced female supply was particularly evident in Victoria, where female slaughter declined 17 per cent for the quarter, aided by much lower numbers of dairy cows coming forward year-on-year.

Adult cattle carcase weights averaged 275kg/head in March – the highest monthly level since 2006 – with rejuvenated pastures resulting in a higher proportion of heavier, finished cattle being slaughter.

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