Saleyard Cattle Prices to Rise

AUSTRALIA - Continued restocker demand, combined with relatively low slaughter rates, are expected to underpin average saleyard cattle prices in 2011-12. According to the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Agricultural Commodities March 2012 report, the average cattle saleyard price is expected to increase two per cent year-on-year, to 330¢/kg cwt.
calendar icon 9 March 2012
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However, over the medium term, ABARES forecasts a slight fall in average saleyard prices, with prices in 2016-17 expected to fall to around 312¢/kg cwt. The fall in value is expected to be the result of higher slaughter following an increase in herd numbers, as well as a rise in beef being sent to developing countries (due to greater competition in traditional export markets), that have historically offered lower returns than the major markets of Japan and Korea.

The Australian cattle herd is expected to rise five per cent year-on-year in 2011-12, to 30.2 million head, before increasing a further four per cent year-on-year in 2012-13, to 31.4 million head, and reach 31.8 million head by 2013-14. The forecast growth is expected to be underpinned by the retention of female breeding stock and favourable seasonal conditions.

Total slaughter is expected to fall two per cent in 2011-12, to 7.9 million head, before rising to 8.1 million head in 2012-13. Despite the fall in slaughter numbers, production is expected to rise 1% in 2011-12, to 2.1 million tonnes cwt – underpinned by higher male turn-off and subsequent heavier average carcase weights.

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