July 22, 2008


Australia's feedlot activity on the rebound

The number of cattle on feed in Australian feedlots during the June quarter rose 13.5 percent from the previous quarter despite high input cost and a strong Australian dollar.


Cattle on feed totalled 685,756 head, the highest quarterly result but 21 percent lower than June 2007.


The rise is attributed to the availability of cheaper feeder cattle, a bumper northern summer sorghum harvest and resulting lower prices.


Drought conditions in the Northern Territory and western Queensland increased the number of cattle suitable for feeding during the June quarter. Cattle on feed in Queensland jumped 30 percent to 358,704 head on the March quarter, while that of New South Wales and Victoria rose 10 percent and 12 percent respectively.


High operating costs have forced feeding operations to significantly cut numbers on feed over the past year, while the high Australian dollar pressurises the competitiveness of Australian grain-fed beef in export markets. Grain-fed beef exports to the US, Japan and South Korea in the June quarter have dropped 53 percent, 11 percent and 4 percent respectively from the previous year.

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