AUSTRALIA - In 2014, Australia produced 2.55 million tonnes cwt of beef, the highest level on record and 10 per cent above the previous record from 2013 according to ABS.
Meat and Livestock Australia said that adult cattle slaughter over the same period totalled 9.23 million head and, while slaughter was below the record years of 1977 and 1978 (when total kill exceeded 10 million head), production was able to reach a new frontier, due to much higher average carcase weights.
Queensland was the largest producer of beef, at 1.21 million tonnes cwt, up seven per cent year-on-year. NSW produced a little over 552,000 tonnes cwt, up 11 per cent, while Victoria produced nearly 494,000 tonnes cwt, up 21 per cent year-on-year. SA and WA produced nearly 126,000 tonnes cwt and 108,000 tonnes cwt, respectively, while Tasmania accounted for almost 66,000 tonnes cwt.
After a break in dry conditions in December, where the majority of Queensland and NSW received “average” or “above average” rainfall (BOM), there may be signs of producers looking to rebuild cattle herds, MLA said.
Female cattle slaughter, as a percentage of the total kill, fell to just under 47 per cent in December, after peaking at 54 per cent in July.
MLA said that this was slightly lower than year-ago levels and not far above the pre-drought five-year average for December of 46 per cent.
However, despite the fact that the proportion of females killed has eased, processors did not slow down towards the end of 2014.
In fact, December adult cattle slaughter came to nearly 666,000 head, the first time above 600,000 head since 1998. Furthermore, so far in 2015, NLRS indicative eastern states weekly cattle slaughter has returned to levels similar to last year.
After averaging almost 160,000 head in 2014, the weekly kill over the past fortnight has already exceeded 170,000 head.
Despite cattle prices improving in January, before steadying in February, processors are still keen to secure high numbers. It may require further follow up rain to flow through the system and have a significant impact on cattle slaughter.
TheMeatSite News Desk