Slaughter to dip in Aussie beef rebuild

Matt CoughlanCountryman
Rabobank senior animal protein analyst Angus Gidley-Baird.
Camera IconRabobank senior animal protein analyst Angus Gidley-Baird. Credit: Zach Relph

Australia’s beef slaughter is expected to dip next year with the smallest cattle herd in a quarter of a century as farmers focus on rebuilding stock numbers.

Released on Monday, Rabobank’s Global Animal Protein Outlook 2021 predicted beef production would be restricted and prices would remain strong.

Rabobank senior animal protein analyst Angus Gidley-Baird, pictured, said improved pastoral conditions would increase beef weights, leading to small production and export increases.

“Continued high female slaughter rates in 2020 and high livestock prices suggests a focus by producers on trading cattle rather than retaining them for breeding,” he said. “We expect herd rebuilding activities to extend into 2021.”

Cattle prices are set to benefit from ongoing competition from producers, feedlotters and processors but prices are tipped to ease as stock numbers build.

Lamb slaughter is expected to increase in 2021 despite the nation’s smallest flock in 75 years.

“Better breeding conditions and an increased focus on lamb production will drive increased lamb slaughter,” Mr Gidley-Baird said. “While carcass weights are expected to remain steady, production and, in turn, exports, should grow.”

Domestic demand for sheep and flock rebuilding is forecast to remain firm, with export demand key to lamb pricing.

The report also found China’s recovery from African swine fever would emerge as the big driver of growth in animal proteins.

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