November 24, 2008

Australia's calf turnoff falls to new low

The contraction in Australia's dairy herd, combined with the retention of beef calves for herd rebuilding across Queensland and northern New South Wales, has seen calf turnoff decline to historically low levels, said Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).


Australia's dairy herd shrunk 18 percent in the past three years, while calf slaughter during the first nine months of 2008 declined 11 percent on-year to 675,000 head, the lowest level since 1970, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Victoria, a key dairy producing state, accounted for 69 percent or 465,497 head of total calf slaughter during the first nine months of 2008, down 4 percent on-year.


Calf slaughter fell 31 percent on-year to a record low of 116,880 head in New South Wales, while Queensland's calf slaughter dropped 20 percent on-year to 39,185 head.


In contrast, Tasmania's calf slaughter increased 7 percent amid drought conditions throughout the year.


Total veal production for the first nine months of 2008 also decreased 15 percent to 20,533 cwt.

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