Holding pattern

Livestock | 22nd February 2024 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

The quarterly cattle slaughter data was released earlier this week and it shows that the Australian cattle herd is resting on the historic female slaughter ratio (FSR) threshold between a herd rebuild and a herd liquidation phase. On an annual basis for 2023 the average FSR came in at 46.8%, which is just 0.2% under the 47% threshold that usually denotes if the herd is undergoing a liquidation or rebuild phase.

An annual average FSR that is below 47% is normally consistent with herd growth, meanwhile an FSR that is above 47% often denotes that the herd is being reduced. Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) are probably not far away from issuing an updated cattle herd projection for 2024 but their most recent update estimated the herd would likely grow by 4% in 2023. Given the FSR ended 2023 averaging 46.8% it probable that this herd growth estimate will be reduced for the 2023 season, but we will have to wait until the release of their next projections report.

Analysis of the quarterly data shows that the FSR dropped from 49.0% in Q3 2023 to 46.9% for Q4 2023 signifying that the most up-to-date quarterly data also shows the Australian cattle herd is teetering on the threshold of rebuild and liquidation.


  • FSR
  • Herd Rebuild
  • Herd Liquidation
  • Slaughter
  • Supply and Demand