Australian grain fed cattle numbers increase

The number of cattle in Australian feedlots hit new record in December 2014.


Cattle numbers in Australian feedlots rose again for the December quarter to the highest level on record.

The 6% increase to 965,000 was the third consecutive quarterly rise eclipsing the previous record of 940,000 experienced in the June 2006 quarter.

Australian Lot Feeders' Association (ALFA) President, Don Mackay, stated that “whilst good rain had fallen since the December quarter expired, the results still largely reflected the dry conditions in many areas which made it difficult for grass fed cattle operators to sustain numbers.”

“The result also reflected the ongoing strong demand for Australian beef overseas and processors desire to shore up cattle requirements during the traditionally quiet January period," he added.

An increase in cattle numbers was reported in all feedlot states except Queensland.  Currently, 84% of the Australian feedlot capacity is being utilized, surpassing the previous benchmark of 83% set in 2006.

Ben Thomas, Meat & Livestock Australia’s Manager, Market Information and NLRS, stated that “grain fed beef exports for 2014 totaled 230,689 tons in volume, up 10% on 2013 levels on the back of a decline in world cattle inventories and a lower Australian dollar.”

Grain fed beef exports results for 2014 were mixed with Japan, Korea and the EU up 12%, 15% and 43% from the previous year, respectively.  At the same time, exports to China and Middle East were down 35% and 13%.

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