Cow Supplies Tighten in Australia

AUSTRALIA - National cow yardings so far in 2012, at physical markets reported by MLA’s NLRS, have declined five per cent year-on-year, with turnoff lower in the eastern states. This follows the general lower trend in cattle supplies – with total yardings tracking 13 per cent lower compared with the same period in 2011, writes Meat and Livestock Australia.
calendar icon 19 March 2012
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The biggest change in cow supplies was recorded in NSW, with year to date numbers falling 13 per cent year-on-year, while Queensland numbers declined seven per cent. Above average rainfall and flooding restricted the ability of producers to offload breeders across many regions, while the ongoing strong seasonal conditions have reinforced the desire to rebuild herds after years of drought.

Victorian numbers were only two per cent lower, and numbers declined six per cent in SA. Hot and dry conditions in several regions prompted graziers to sell a higher proportion of females compared with NSW and Queensland. WA cow supplies were significantly higher – lifting 40 per cent as producers sold a larger proportion of cattle in the physical markets as stronger buying competition resulted in higher prices.

The number of cows purchased by restockers lifted 29 per cent year-on-year, with buying activity focussing on medium weight drafts. Despite increased demand, and more cows returning to the paddock for breeding, restocker cow prices have averaged two per cent lower for the year to date, at 138¢/kg lwt.

Cow quality has remained excellent in early 2012, with heavy cows (520kg+ lwt) dominating yardings, accounting for 56 per cent of supplies. This was very similar to the previous year, as producers in the eastern states experienced favourable grazing conditions. This also contributed to a higher proportion of 3 score or better conditioned cows, while calf weaning weights were again above average.

The national medium cow indicator averaged two per cent lower for the year-to-date compared with the same period last year, settling on 145¢/kg lwt. This was despite the A$ averaging five per cent higher on 105.7US¢ (RBA). Global demand for manufacturing beef has been historically strong in early 2012, which has offset the negative effects of the higher currency. This has resulted in 90CL beef prices trading at record levels in recent weeks, with US demand for manufacturing beef robust.

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