Numbers of cattle on feed have remained steady at 1,258,377 head in the September quarter.
The latest feedlot survey results published by the Australian Lot Feeders' Association and Meat & Livestock Australia show increased numbers on feed in the larger lot feeding states of NSW and Queensland, balanced out the lower numbers in Victoria and seasonal reduction in Western Australia.
Numbers on feed in Queensland, NSW and South Australia rose by 2.1 per cent, 2.9pc and 1.3pc respectively, while Victoria and WA numbers dropped 4.9pc and 41.9pc.
ALFA president Barb Madden said the historically-high numbers on feed over the quarter reflected continued strong demand for grainfed beef but also served as a reminder of the role the feedlot system played when conditions become less favourable in the paddock.
'We have seen strong placement of grainfed beef in our key export markets of Japan, Korea and China occur during the last quarter," she said.
"It was pleasing to see continued demand for our product in these markets despite cost-of-living pressures globally.
'Increased feeder cattle availability has been driven partly by drying conditions, particularly in northern NSW and central Queensland. No one likes to see conditions dry off, especially given the amazing run of good seasons we have enjoyed. Feedlots have been able to absorb some of this turnoff and it's a reminder of the role we can play in evening out the impact of climate variation for the supply chain."
National capacity increased by 1.4pc to 1.58 million head. Utilisation rates remained steady at 80pc.
MLA's global supply analyst Tim Jackson said the September quarter saw increases in grainfed exports across all major overseas markets.
"Grainfed beef exports are at an all-time high in 2023, with exports reaching over 85,000 tonnes in the September quarter, and over 234,000 tonnes year-to-date," he said.
Looking at cattle supply, Mr Jackson noted that saleyards saw increased availability of feeder cattle paired with eased national feeder steer indicator prices, which has been the case across the board as producers seek to offload livestock supply.
Mr Jackson also noted that the Darling Downs wheat prices continued to climb in the September quarter, growing by 8pc to $439/tonne.
"This third consecutive increase in wheat prices continues to put pressure on overall ration costs and cost of gain and is somewhat dampening the impact of reduced feeder prices for lot feeders," he said.
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