Victorian cow turn-off at unusually high levels

Victorian cow turn-off at unusually high levels

Ken Davis and Peter Robertson dispersed the Condah Hill 7-8 year-old Angus cows with calves at foot at Hamilton.

Ken Davis and Peter Robertson dispersed the Condah Hill 7-8 year-old Angus cows with calves at foot at Hamilton.


Adverse seasonal conditions has seen the Victorian cow slaughter rise unusually high.


Meat & Livestock Australia reported last week that the slaughter of cows in Victoria has been unusually high in recent months.

And with the downturn in dairy industry profitability and the increasingly dry conditions spreading across Victoria, this is not surprising.

The MLA report primarily focused on the broader drought raging across eastern Australia, and it stated that the arrival of summer would force producers to reassess their position, following a disappointing spring.

It said for many, the most pressing decision related to breeding herds would be whether costly feeding programs would be required to carry stock through to autumn.

For the producers that managed to carry breeding stock through one of the driest 12-month periods on record, the lack of drought-breaking rain in the last few months was frustrating.

Months of sustained feeding programs took a toll financially, physically and mentally, with the hope of a seasonal break and price recovery the perceived light at the end of the tunnel.

MLA said when the break does come, there would be no doubt breeding stock will be in short supply, given the high female turn-off during winter.

As such, the decision not to sell would be based on sound logic, as many envisaged a price-spike in the event of rain.

However, a failed spring coupled with a 70 per cent chance of El Niño during summer could derail the best-laid plans, the report continued.

Ideally, those who have made the decision to sell cows would like to do so sooner rather than later, with Christmas plant closures and potential supply increase factors to consider.

On Monday, the eastern states medium cow indicator averaged 213 cents a kilogram live weight, up 350c/kg on the previous week.

At this level, the indicator sits 9pc above the five-year November average of 192c/kg lwt.

Despite the heightened supply, prices are still benefiting from a low Australian dollar and strong Asian demand for manufacturing beef.

Cow prices in the southern states are currently sitting below those in Queensland.

The Queensland medium cow indicator averaged 233c/kg lwt on Monday, compared with 207c/kg in NSW and 198c/kg in Victoria.

Reports also suggest processors in Queensland are keen to keep plants operating at capacity, therefore are willing to pay decent prices for cows in reasonable condition.

In terms of the Victorian saleyard cow throughput, average weekly yardings for the September to December period rose 30pc over last year and 15pc up on two years ago.

The story Victorian cow turn-off at unusually high levels first appeared on Stock & Land.


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