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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2009
CA TTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA YEARBOOK 2009 Industry Statistics 2008 in refleCtion The past year brought mixed rainfall outcomes across Australia, with little improvement in drought conditions across south eastern Australia, while large tracts of northern NSW and Queensland finished 2008 experiencing some of the best seasonal conditions for many years. I n the west, average to above average rainfall was recorded during 2008, with the heaviest falls limited to central and far northern coastal regions. Key southern agricultural regions received average rainfall, resulting in an overall good winter grain harvest for the west in 2008. Although some regions were patchy, with rain late in the year disrupting the harvest in these areas. A failed wet season resulted in very much below average rain across western Queensland during 2008, forcing cattle producers to reduce numbers as feed and water supplies diminished. In contrast, much of eastern and far north Queensland recorded above average to very much above average falls for the year, while heavy rain during the final few months of the year across south eastern regions of the state boosted annual totals to average for 2008. Matching previous years, below average falls across southern NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania during 2008 maintained the drought’s grip, with a favourable start to the winter cropping season again eroded by a very dry spring. Cattle slaughter baCk 1% in 2008 Australian adult cattle slaughter declined during 2008, as reduced turnoff throughout Queensland offset increased numbers throughout NSW, Victoria and WA. Slaughter totalled 7.96 million head, down 1%, with beef and veal production for the year reaching 2.16 million tonnes cwt (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Slaughter numbers throughout 2008 fluctuated from month-to-month, as seasonal conditions and trading uncertainties impacted processing operations. Heavy rain and flooding across eastern Queensland during the first quarter of 2008, contributed to an 11% year-onyear decline in national slaughter levels, with numbers in Queensland back 17%. In contrast to the slow first quarter of the year, slaughter levels during the second quarter of 2008 jumped 6%, with a higher inventory of cattle in northern Australia and the continuation of drought across southern states assisting turnoff. Slaughter levels were also higher during the third quarter of 2008, up 1% year-on-year, as southern volumes increased, especially in Victoria and WA. Despite national adult slaughter in October reaching its highest monthly level since 1979, at 780,358 head, total slaughter for the final quarter of 2008 was almost unchanged on the same period in 2007. Offsetting the increase in October were year-on-year declines in both November and December, as the combined impact of a wet finish to the year across northern NSW and southern Queensland tightened turnoff, while the fall-out from the global economic and financial crisis saw many processors scale-back operations earlier than in previous years. Australian Rainfall Deciles There were very different seasonal conditions between northern and southern Australia during 2008. Rebuilding efforts across Queensland contributed to female slaughter falling 11% year-on-year. In contrast, continued drought saw female slaughter numbers for NSW, Victoria and WA increase 7%, 13% and 9%, respectively. Nationally, female cattle slaughter in 2008 increased 1% year-on-year, to 3.8 million head, while male slaughter declined 3% year-onyear, to 4.09 million head. 30 1117_CCA Yearbook 2009.indd 30 5/5/09 8:00:14 PM