February 1, 2023


Australia's slaughter figures on good start, beef exports expected to be more competitive internationally




Australia's slaughter numbers started 2023 strong with weather conditions tilting in favour of processors, and a probable decrease in US beef production could make Australian beef exports more competitive in international markets.


The country's slaughter numbers started firm in January compared with two years earlier. Industry group Meat and Livestock Australia reported 99,206 head slaughtered in the week ending January 22 compared with 72,477 head a year earlier and 2021 had yet to start recording kills with processing low until February.


Kill numbers only exceeded 100,000 head eight times last year, with five of those instances occurring in the last five weeks of 2022. With a stronger start to the 2023 processing year, a power shift is starting to be seen towards processors with a strong decline in kill prices, putting downward pressure on feeder steer prices.


Above-median rainfall is moderately likely for small parts of eastern Australia, with below-median rainfall likely for the remainder of Australia for February-April, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Temperatures are very likely to be warmer than usual across most of the country. Lower rainfall in the coming months before winter will see an increase in available cattle in the market as farmers' ability to keep higher herd stocking rates decreases.


Meanwhile, as beef production slows in the United States, the country will look to the global market to fill this void through imports, creating increased export opportunities for others, including Australia.


- Argus

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