Grass finished gains
March 2023 Cattle on Feed Report
Last week saw the release of the March 2023 quarter cattle on feed report. There wasn’t a great deal of change to the headline number so we decided to wait until this weeks release of quarterly cattle slaughter data so we could provide a picture of the grass finished versus grain finished ratio so far during 2023.
Grainfed turnoff for the first quarter of 2023 was 662,744 head according to the Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) cattle on feed summary report and for the March quarter of 2023 ABS report 1,542,400 head processed. This means there was around 880,000 head of cattle processed that were grass finished. In terms of a ratio of grainfed to grassfed this implies that around 43% of cattle turned off over the first quarter of 2023 were finished on grain. This ratio is down from 46.9% grain fed turnoff during 2022.
Cattle of feed in the March quarter increased by just 1.1% from the December 2022 quarter to see 1.15 million head in feedlots across the nation. Queensland, our largest feedlot sector, saw a drop in cattle on feed of 4.6%, but all other states saw cattle volumes in feedlot increase over March 2023.
Feedlot capacity lifted 1.5% to 1.55 million head over quarter one, which is the highest on record, and this growth in capacity saw the feedlot utilisation ratio slip marginally from 75% to 74%.
A look at the seasonal pattern shows that while numbers on feed climbed from the December to March quarter, compared to this time last year cattle on feed in the March quarter was 8.8% softer. In line with fewer cattle on feed over the 2023 March quarter cattle marketings was also lower on a year on year basis. March 2023 feedlot marketings were 10.7% below the levels seen in March quarter 2022.