RESULTS from the latest ALFA/MLA June quarter survey (released this morning) reveal a 5pc national increase in grain fed cattle numbers on feed over the quarter.
Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) president Jim Cudmore said lower feeder cattle and grain prices had encouraged lot feeders to increase cattle numbers.
“Feeder cattle prices averaged 5pc lower year-on-year while feed grain prices were 15pc lower on the Darling Downs and 11pc lower in the Riverina," Mr Cudmore said.
"The impact of the more recent rises in grain prices from late June will no doubt be felt in the September and December quarters.”
“The decline in feeder cattle prices reflected a general easing in the cattle market and higher cattle turnoff numbers due to drier than average seasonal conditions in parts of Australia in late summer and early autumn.
"Coupled with lower on farm returns for grain production and a 4pc decline in the Australian dollar against the US over the quarter, lot feeders were encouraged to increase cattle numbers on feed, particularly in smaller to medium sized yards."
Mr Cudmore said the increase in cattle numbers on feed was largely driven by Queensland in absolute terms and Victoria in percentage terms while other states remained relatively static.
“Cattle numbers in Western Australia, while only increasing slightly over the quarter, were nonetheless double compared to the same time last year on the back of cheaper grain and improved access to suitable feeder cattle,” Mr Cudmore said.
Meat and Livestock Australia’s manager for market information and analysis Tim McRae said grain fed exports for the quarter experienced a 15pc year-on-year decline as our strong currency, weak consumer demand and US competition continued to challenge trading conditions.
“Grain fed exports to Japan fell 17pc year-on-year over the June quarter to 31,540 tonnes swt, whilst grain fed shipments to Korea finished the June quarter 30pc down year-on-year to 6,148 tonnes swt," Mr McRae said.
Mr Cudmore said despite a difficult export trading environment, feedlot capacity levels also rose slightly over the quarter indicating that despite the tough conditions, lot feeders remained confident about the future of the industry.
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