Tassie moves on cattle herd sizes

Karolin Macgregor
By Karolin Macgregor
Tasmanian Country
05 Jul 2024

THE latest Beef Producer Intentions Survey by Meat & Livestock Australia has reported that 28 per cent of Tasmanian producers intend to reduce their cattle numbers.

The survey, which is run three times a year, found Tasmania has about 1.3 million beef cattle across the state.

Overall, the survey found confidence among Australian beef farmers has increased by 11 per cent to 34 per cent compared to the last survey in November 2023.

About 37 per cent of producers noted that improving prices were a factor in their increasing confidence levels.

More than half of Australian producers, 54 per cent, indicated that they would maintain their current herd size, while 28 per cent said they would increase numbers, and 19 per cent said that they would decrease their herd.

 A much smaller cohort of 16 per cent saw a negative outlook, while about one in three were uncommitted and uncertain about the next 12 months.

The survey spoke to over 3000 grassfed beef cattle producers in April and May this year. It covers producer sentiment and intentions, herd profile, spring and autumn calving, turn-off weights for different producer types and sales-to-date forecast.

Manager for Market Information at MLA, Stephen Bignell, said that Northern producers were generally more positive than Southern producers, but that there were key variations across the states.

“The results suggest that that Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian producers are more positive than producers in other states, mostly due to an increase in prices and increased confidence following rain over the summer,” Mr Bignell said.

“Producers in Western Australia continue to report a far less positive outlook, driven by a fall in prices and a lack of rainfall in key cattle grazing areas.”  

At the producer level, there is a net intention to increase the on-farm grassfed adult beef cattle herd in the next 12 months.

 Mr Bignell said this was a clear change in intention from that reported in the November 2023 survey, where there was a stronger intention to reduce herd sizes, reflecting the dry conditions heading into summer.

“While the results do not indicate producers have all shifted to a rebuild focus, there has been a noticeable shift away from herd reductions at this stage,” he said.

When analysed further, producers noted that the summer rainfall had influenced their herd-size intentions.

The April 2024 survey had a focus on measuring some of the demographics of Australia’s herd.

The survey estimated there are approximately just over 26 million on-farm grassfed adult beef cattle. 

Over half of the on-farm grassfed adult beef cattle on hand are breeding cows with heifers making up an additional 15 per cent of the total estimated herd size.

Queensland accounts for almost half the herd size with 48 per cent, with New South Wales holding 20 per cent.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • Allowed HTML tags: <p> <br>
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.