Female Retention Sustains Herd Rebuilding

AUSTRALIA - The vastly improved season over the past two years has encouraged Australian cattle producers to retain females, with the momentum behind the herd rebuild being sustained in early 2012.
calendar icon 13 April 2012
clock icon 2 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics official slaughter figures for February, female numbers contracted one per cent year-on-year, at 284,000 head. The decline for February 2012 continues the overriding trend since January 2010, with 20 of the past 26 months seeing a year-on-year fall in female slaughter levels.

From March 2011 until February 2012, female cattle processed nationally reached 3.143 million head – a 375,000 head decline on the corresponding 2010-11 period. The retention of breeding stock over the past two years and an improvement in branding rates across the country has underpinned MLA’s forecast herd growth over the next few years, with overall cattle numbers expected to increase 4.1 per cent to June 2012, to 30 million head.

Record rainfall in 2012 and 2011, along with the wet start to 2012 across eastern Australian and an improvement in conditions in southern WA in the second half of 2011 has underpinned the rebuilding effort across the country. From March 2011 to February 2012, female cattle slaughter in Queensland (down 159,000 head), New South Wales (down 72,000 head), Victoria (down 65,000 head) and West Australia (down 80,000 head) was well back on the same 2010-11 period.

MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service weekly adult slaughter for March declined two per cent year-on-year, to 124,795 head. If as expected, official ABS March slaughter is also back on the same time last year, the run of year-on-year falls in female throughput is expected to be maintained.

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