AUSTRALIA, North Sydney. Limited paddock feed and critically low stock water in some areas saw turn-off dip further into core breeding stock in January. The sustained number of female cattle going through to slaughter will have an effect on the national herd and beef supply in years to come, as outlined in the latest industry projections.
For the month of January, Australian adult cattle slaughter totalled 584,000 head, up 9% year-on-year. The increase was driven entirely by female slaughter, which was up 27% year-on-year and 55% above January 2017. On the other hand, male slaughter fell 5% year-on-year.
The female portion equated to 50.7% of total slaughter in January, with the figure now sitting at 51.2% on a 12-month rolling average basis. For perspective, the 12-month rolling average figure has now risen above the heights of the 2013–2015 drought – the highest level seen since the late 1990s.
The proportion of female slaughter is a key metric when analysing movements in the national herd and, more specifically, whether a liquidation or expansionary phase is occurring. A rise above 47% on a 12-month rolling average basis would typically indicate a liquidation phase in the herd. Female carcase weights reflected a difficult season, with the national average in January falling 14kg year-on-year to 258kg/head. Male carcase weights were much more consistent, rising 1kg year-on-year to 327kg/head.