MLA - Meat & Livestock Australia Limited

12/03/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/02/2020 21:16

Victoria female slaughter skews pace of rebuild as dairy industry pressured

Victoria female slaughter skews pace of rebuild as dairy industry pressured

03 December 2020

Key points:

  • Eastern states lead rebuild progress
  • Queensland has 49% of slaughter cattle, with a female proportion decline of 6% since the same time last year
  • Victoria and Western Australia contribute to higher female slaughter rates as dairy industry declines

It's easy to assume that the national rebuild is still in liquidation mode, with 53% of total cattle slaughter comprising females, despite advances on national figures since last year. However, a further breakdown into the sum of its parts showcases more progressive signs for the rebuild, particularly in the eastern states, when considering the effect of Victoria's dairy industry on overall slaughter statistics.

Demand and production

Significant volumes of cattle have transferred from Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, primarily into New South Wales, propping up eastern states stocks, with prices continuing to achieve record levels this year. Production has also declined to 1.76 million head processed in the 2020 September quarter, 21% below the same quarter in 2019, indicative of heightened restocker demand and lower supply off the back of drought-induced turnoff in 2019.

Queensland and NSW female slaughter

Queensland has experienced relatively minimal change to quarterly female slaughter rates despite heightened changes to climate, with averages tracking lower than rival states.

This is due to the dependence on the feedlot sector, where steers are typically in higher demand, leading to less females being processed in proportion to males, reflecting the formation of local herds. The Queensland female percentage should be lower than other states due to aforementioned factors, however, more progress is still required to reach 2016 levels and move towards a full rebuild.

Queensland and NSW combined processed 70% of cattle in the quarter, with the female slaughter rates achieving 46% and 54%, respectively. Queensland dropped 5%, with NSW down 2% from the previous year.

Victoria female slaughter skews pace of rebuild as dairy industry pressured

Victoria processed 18% of national cattle in the September quarter, with female slaughter accounting for 68%, much higher than NSW and Queensland. When delving into the eastern states rebuild, the high Victorian rate of female slaughter begs the question as to why it continues to trend so high and ease the pace of a rebuild, even though rainfall has remained relatively consistent?

The increasing female slaughter rate in Victoria can be largely attributed to the challenges faced by the dairy industry in recent times, leaving sustained high volumes of females being processed that normally wouldn't be. Similarly, WA has seen significant rises in percentages of female slaughter, heightening the influence of reduced dairy production along with lower-than-average rainfall.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2020

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