The return of the grassfed

Livestock | 29th February 2024 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

The Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) quarterly report for December 2023 was released this week with feedlot numbers remaining relatively stable. There were 1,294,531 head of cattle reported on feed across Australia for the December quarter, an increase of just 2.9% on the September quarter cattle on feed numbers. Feedlot capacity increased  by 1.1% over the December quarter to 1,594,565 head, bringing the national feedlot capacity utilisation ratio to 81%.

A seasonal view of cattle on feed shows that numbers have remained pretty steady since the March quarter. Comparing December 2023 to December 2022 current cattle on feed numbers are running 13% higher this year.

Feedlot turnoff for the December quarter was reported at 668,613 head, an 8% increase on marketings from the September quarter. Despite the increased turnoff for the end of 2023 the annual marketing volumes over the 2024 season was around 8% below the five-year average turnoff volumes and 4% under the volumes seen in 2022.

There was a total of 7,028,900 head of cattle slaughtered for the 2023 season, of which 2,637,918 head were sourced from the feedlot sector as grain finished cattle. This leaves 4,390,982 head classified as grass finished. For 2023 the ratio of grainfed to grassfed cattle slipped from 46.9% in 2022 to 37.5% in 2023, which is the lowest ratio of grain fed cattle slaughter since 2019.


  • Cattle
  • Feedlot
  • COF
  • Beef