September 19, 2018
Australian grainfed cattle exports set new records
Australian grainfed cattle rose to a record 1.12 million head at the end of the June, up 9% or an increase of 94,777 head first quarter, and 3% higher than the previous record set in June 2017, according to the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).
Grainfed beef exports at the end of the second quarter also achieved a new high of 74,932 tonnes shipped weight (swt), up 10% from the same period last year.
"The impact of record numbers of cattle on feed has been further reflected in the latest export figures, as grainfed exports in July totalled 28,145 tonnes swt—the largest month on record", the MLA said in a news release.
Robust export demand in traditional grainfed markets continued during the second quarter as shipments to Japan and Korea increased 8% year-on-year. Exports to China rose 74% from last year to 12,653 tonnes swt, enabling China to overtake South Korea as Australia's second-largest grainfed beef market in volume terms.
Meanwhile, elevated demand and higher prices for grain will continue to pressure lot feeders, as will the ability to source suitable entry weight cattle. The average weight of EYCI eligible cattle purchased by feeder buyers in the June quarter was 360 kilogrammes, a drop of 14 kg on the previous quarter. EYCI, or the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator, is a general benchmark of Australian cattle prices.
Despite challenging conditions hampering large parts of the country, overall the feedlot sector continues to support Australian beef production as evidenced by 86% utilisation of feedlots at a record number of cattle on feed, the MLA said.