Ex­port pull gives the mar­ket a push

On the rise: De­mand in Asia and the US drives prices up

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - He­len Spelitis

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.”

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