WITH rain models broadening their coverage and lifting volume predictions, albeit only slightly, herd rebuilding plans are likely to firm up, keeping upward pressure on the cattle market from here until Christmas.
Solid export prices - the benchmark United States 90 chemical lean (CL) imported price rose above the 600 cents per kilogram mark (converted) this week for the first time in 17 weeks - also means it’s unlikely cattle prices will soften too much for the short term, said Mecardo analyst Matt Dalgleish.
The latest beef export figures as reported by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) show a 19 per cent lift year-on-year to 86,279 tonnes shipping weight.
Exporters point out it’s still a low volume as this time last year supplies were very tight.
The number of cattle moving through abattoirs is still down on October and November last year and well below 2015 levels, they said.
Still, MLA analysts expect export volumes will finish on par with 2016 if an average season prevails.
Demand from Japan, the United States and China coincided neatly with the lift in Australian supply courtesy of dry winter conditions to pump up the latest exports figures.
Japan retain its crown as our largest beef export market, taking 10pc more year-on-year.
Analysts said that was predominantly driven by continued demand for grain fed product, which increased numbers on feed in Australia was able to contend with.
Despite a decrease in the latest figures for numbers on feed, more than a million head are currently in feedlots around the nation, historically an extremely high rate which follows on from record-breaking levels in the June quarter.
The July to September quarter saw only a 64,323 head drop, or 6pc.
The decline was expected, as the effects of higher grain prices started to flow through, but capacity figures continued to expand, which feedlot industry leaders say reflects the expansion happening in the sector and ongoing investor confidence.
Heavier carcase weights have taken year-to-date beef production 1pc higher than the same time in 2016, Rabobank’s November agribusiness report said.