Cattle High slaughter rolls on
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.