The June quarter 2023 cattle on feed report has been released by the Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). National cattle on feed numbers have swelled to the second highest level on record at 1,256,832 head, an increase of 8.5% on the first quarter volumes.
The strong rise was underpinned by big growth in cattle on feed in Queensland and South Australia, up 17.6% and 18.6% over the quarter, respectively. Cattle on feed in NSW was relatively stable, but Victorian numbers were down by 8.4%. Meanwhile WA saw the largest percentage decline over the quarter with cattle on feed volumes down by 19.4%.
National feedlot capacity was virtually unchanged so the increased numbers in feedlots over the June quarter saw the utilisation ratio increase from 74% in the first quarter of 2023 to 81% for the second quarter.
Analysis of the seasonal quarterly trend for cattle on feed shows the June 2023 volumes are sitting 5% above the levels seen last June and 11% higher than the five-year average for the June quarter. Contributing to the higher retention of cattle in feedlots is the below average trend for cattle marketings so far in 2023.
Cattle marketings lifted by 4% over the June quarter to see 688,544 head of turnoff out of feedlots. Despite the increased turnoff the trend remains nearly 100,000 head below the average pattern for feedlot marketing during the first half of 2023, based on the last five years of data.