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Grain fed cattle up

Cattle on feed rose 10 per cent in the last quarter of 2012, results from the latest Australian Lot Feeders Association and Meat and Livestock Australia survey have shown. The position is virtually equivalent to the same period 12 months ago. ALFA president Don Mackay said the December quarter survey outcome was predominantly the result of a decline in feeder cattle prices. “Indicative national feeder cattle (yearling steers C3 330-400kg liveweight) prices averaged 188c/kg live weight during the December quarter, back 10pc from the corresponding period last year,” he said. “The decline in feeder cattle prices reflected easing demand and higher cattle turnoff figures due to drier than average seasonal conditions across parts of Australia. “Higher cattle numbers on feed were experienced in all states with the largest increases, in absolute terms, seen in Queensland and NSW, and in percentage terms in South Australia and Western Australia. “While Darling Downs barley, sorghum and wheat prices were significantly higher year on year (29pc, 22pc and 25pc respectively), they were similar to the September quarter (averaging only 5pc higher) and hence did not impede cattle purchase decisions”. MLA chief economist Tim McRae said grain fed exports to Australia’s major markets for the quarter were mixed with a 12pc year-on-year decline to Japan and a 15pc rise in Korea. “Total grain fed beef exports into Japan finished the 2012 year at 124,101 tonnes shipped weight, a fall of 12pc compared to 2011 while total exports into Korea were 31,332 tonnes, down 19pc,” Mr McRae said. “The declines were offset slightly however by increases in grain fed beef exports into Europe (46pc), South East Asia (88pc) and the Middle East (40pc), albeit all coming from a low base. “Total grain fed beef exports for 2012 were 190,179 tonnes (swt), a fall of 9pc compared to 2011. The overall results reflected continuing challenges associated with our currency strength, weak consumer demand in export markets and increasing US competition.”

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