Export pull gives the market a push
On the rise: Demand in Asia and the US drives prices up
CATTLE producers can look forward to a continued rise in prices at saleyards as the supply of slaughter cattle dwindles.
The market has been steadily declining into a state of depression for the past 18 months with continuing drought conditions and enormous turn-off rates as farmers struggled to feed livestock.
But overseas demand has continued to boom, making cattle suitale for slaughter highly sought after, increasing returns for struggling farmers.
And according to livestock agent Paul Pratt, the best is yet to come.
He said the huge yardings seen across the state in recent months had dropped off, driving the price per kilo up with cows hitting an average 183c/ kg last month.
STRUGGLING cattle farmers will see some relief, with prices expected to continue to rise as demand soars on the back of the US hunger for hamburgers.
Producers have been struggling through drought and a depressed market offering little profit for underweight animals.
But growing demand from overseas trading partners, including Japan, China and the US, has pushed saleyard prices up, with fat cattle in high demand.
Last month, Australia exported a record 936,702 tonnes of beef, primarily due to demand from the US.
The US has been in the grips of its own drought for the past four years and in September more than double the volume of beef was exported to the US compared to the same period last year.
Murgon-based livestock agent Paul Pratt said the significant price increase was down to two main factors – dwindling cattle supplies and strong exports.
Mr Pratt predicted there would be more good news for local producers in coming months.
He said prices would continue to rise as the number of fat and export cattle dwindled following continuing drought conditions and lower numbers of heavy cattle.
“A couple of months ago producers were offloading huge numbers of cattle because of the dry weather,” Mr Pratt said.
“But now those numbers have disappeared and that shortage is driving the prices up.
“Local cattle numbers are dropping dramatically and that shortage is right across the market.”
The shortage of heavy cattle, coupled with growing overseas demand, means the future is looking brighter for the region’s struggling farmers.
“Most of our beef exports are going to the States as grinding beef for their burger market. But demand in China is growing too,” he said.
“Because the numbers of export cattle are becoming short, we should see good pricing in the coming months.”