Outlook Australian 2019 beef cattle seasonal outlook
Producers, along with feedlots and processors, will be forced to compete for a very limited pool of cattle, and we expect prices to move substantially as producers – motivated by rain – enter and leave the market.
Rabobank expects slaughter numbers to contract slightly in 2019, a result of limited inventory and also a slight improvement in the season that will mean fewer forced sales. Assuming rainfall is still below average, females will still make up a large component of the total and, together with lighter cattle generally, this will keep slaughter weights down. We therefore expect production to drop by 6%.
With assumed drier-than-normal conditions across the year, demand from producers to restock is expected to remain subdued and, therefore, average prices across the year will decline. Inventory limitations will mean prices swing, with upside generated by any improvements in the season.