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Drought and High Prices Keep Slaughter Figures High

17 September 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - The past 12 to 18 months have been remarkable in terms of the number of sheep and cattle slaughtered - the result of the ongoing drought conditions in the north of the country and the strong sheep and lamb prices, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Last week saw indicative eastern states cattle slaughter exceed 170,000 head again, which was 16 per cent above the already high 2012 level and 30 per cent, or nearly 40,000 head, above the same week in 2012.

Similarly, eastern states cattle slaughter last week was about 43,000 head higher than the same week in 2011.

MLA said that this indicates that once there is a break in seasonal conditions, the wave of cattle entering the slaughter market has the capacity to contract by as much as 40,000 head per week, going a long way towards offering upward support for cattle prices.

Similarly, indicative eastern states lamb slaughter last week was 13 per cent higher than the same time last year, at 391,218 head, also continuing what has been a high run, with the turn-off more the result of producers capitalising on the buoyant lamb market.

For similar reasons, MLA said, sheep slaughter last week was up four per cent on last year’s high level, at 131,572 head, which is in fact up an astonishing 52 per cent on 2012 and 92 per cent on 2011 levels.

Along with the high cattle slaughter, made up largely of females, the current high sheep slaughter will limit the flock rebuilding capacity over the coming year, which in turn is likely to continue offering support for the market.
Interestingly, indicative eastern states goat slaughter was around 35,000 head last week, back 30 per cent year-on-year – albeit on the back of what were very high weeks during July and August.

 

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