Weekly kill: Red ink prevails, as live cattle and meat prices de-couple


Jon Condon, Beef Central (Australia)



Beef processors are again notching up hefty losses on scarce slaughter cattle, as Australian beef remains largely out-of-touch in key international meat markets.


A flat China beef export market caused by further COVID shut-downs and overall economic malaise, combined with very strong export competition and volume out of the US into markets like Japan and Korea, due to near record drought-driven US grainfed beef production is making heavy going for export beef processors at present.


Conversations held earlier today suggest slaughter cows in Queensland this week may be a $180/head net loss proposition, while further south in Victoria, those losses on cow may have reached an eye-watering $400-$450 a head (see current direct consignment and saleyards equivalent carcase prices below).


In some cases, some of those cow losses among smaller processors may be being offset by some ‘creative labelling’ on carton end-panels on variables like grassfed status or gender, and some off-setting through specialised by-products like foetal blood, currently worth around $600/litre.


However big trading losses are also being written on steer, and especially grainfeds, and including some of the ‘special’ cattle on longer-fed brand programs, Beef Central was told. One contact suggested some grainfed steers this week were currently a $300 loss proposition.


Beef Central has written previously about the impact that record-high beef production in the US caused by drought liquidation is having on global beef trade and Australia’s competitive position.


Kills tighten further ...


Cattle moving ... 


Southern grids firmer ...