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Australian slaughter predicted to dip in April

Published: 27 Apr, 2022

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has released its forecast for an expected dip in slaughter volumes during April.

The organisation reported that smaller national yards and reduced processing capacity can be expected this month due to several public holidays.

Lower slaughter rates typically occur at this time of year but, given there are three four-day weeks coming up this month due to Good Friday, Easter Monday and ANZAC Day, the impact of the shorter weeks is expected to be more pronounced than in the previous two years, when there have only been two shortened weeks due to Good Friday and Easter Monday.

As a result, smaller national yardings and less numbers going through the indicators are expected. The lower throughput of head reported through the indicators, especially the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator, can cause pricing volatility, MLA reported. 

The April dip in cattle slaughter has occurred between the 13th and 17th week of the year over the last two years, MLA said, depending on when Easter has occurred. Last year, the Easter dip resulted in slaughter falling 25% in a week from 96,000 head to 72,000 head – which was the lowest weekly slaughter recorded all year. This year, slaughter is expected to operate at 75% for three weeks – a week longer than in 2020 and 2021.

The trend is expected to happen but be less pronounced for the sheep and lamb slaughter during this period.

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