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Restocking drives fall in slaughter numbers

Rains across the eastern seaboard and a continued focus on restocking by producers has reduced the number of livestock available for slaughter during July.

Increased competition for beef cattle by processors, feedlots, and producers has led to many processors being unable to fulfil quotas, forcing a number to operate at reduced capacity.

A similar situation has impacted sheep and lamb processors with the seasonal lull in sheep and lamb sales combined with regional shortages resulting in a number of large processing facilities shutting for maintenance and renovation.

While a fall in the number of sheep and lambs slaughtered has been observed nationally, these impacts are especially pronounced in Queensland.

Livestock and meat production monthly trend movements for July 2016:

  • Cattle slaughter decreased by 3 percent in July 2016 compared with June 2016 and was down by 174,786 head or 23 percent year-on-year.
  • The number of calves slaughtered in July 2016 decreased by 1 percent month-on-month and decreased by 17 percent year-on-year.
  • Sheep slaughter in July 2016 decreased by 29,620 head or 5 percent compared with June 2016 and declined 27 percent year-on-year.
  • Lamb slaughters decreased by 47,231 head or 3 percent month-on-month for July 2016. Compared with July 2015, slaughter decreased by 5 percent or 96,121 head.
  • Pig slaughtering continued its slight monthly increases in July 2016 and increased by 19,976 head, or 5 percent year-on-year.

Number of lambs slaughtered, Australia (source: ABS 7218.0.55.001)
Beef production, Australia (source: ABS 7218.0.55.001)
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