The number of cattle on feed in Australia has dropped despite an increase in both Queensland and NSW.
The latest Australian Lot Feeders Association and Meat & Livestock Australia survey for the July - September quarter showed there were 119,329 head on feed, down 2.5 per cent from the record from the previous quarter of 147,393 head.
That's despite an increase in Queensland of 1.1pc to 660,269 head and New South Wales by 1.6pc to 321,951.
Those gains were offset by drops in Victoria by 12.4pc, South Australia by 10.8pc, while in Western Australia numbers declined by 48.6pc to 27,470 head.
The president of ALFA Bryce Camm, said global demand for protein continued to drive the industry despite challenging conditions.
- Cattle numbers on feed hit a record high
- Lotfeeders confident resources will match an expanded industry
"Feedlots have helped sustain beef production despite the persistent east coast drought," Mr Camm said.
MLA's senior market analyst Adam Cheetham said export demand for Australian grain fed beef has remained robust especially in China.
"Grain fed exports to China have increased 45pc year on year to 19,990 tonnes shipped for the September quarter," he said.
"That's largely fuelled by the impact of African swine fever.
"In line with robust demand the Queensland 100-day grain fed steer indicator rose 11pc year-on-year to average 589c/kg in the September quarter and increased to be in line with record prices set in October 2016."
There's also been a price reprieve for lotfeeders with Darling Downs wheat averaging $401/tonne and barley $400/tonne, which is a decline six and seven per cent respectively, compared on the year before.