Beef prices en­cour­age ex­pan­sion

Pilbara News - - News - Glenn Cord­ing­ley

Pas­toral­ists from the Kim­ber­ley and Pil­bara re­gions be­lieve WA beef still rep­re­sents good value for money de­spite soar­ing costs and con­cerns it will be re­placed by chicken and prawns at Christ­mas din­ners.

Beef pro­duc­tion has fallen to its low­est level in 11 years.

Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics fig­ures show the num­ber of cat­tle sent to slaugh­ter in the past three months was the low­est since 2005.

Beef pro­duc­ers are look­ing to re­build the na­tional herd, tipped to fall to 23.3 mil­lion — the small­est num­ber of cat­tle in the coun­try since the mid-1990s.

Kim­ber­ley Pil­bara Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man, David Stoate, who runs Anna Plains Sta­tion, 250km south of Broome, said the im­proved beef prices were a wel­come change. “Pro­duc­ers in the Kim­ber­ley have used the im­proved re­turns to rein­vest in their prop­er­ties, mean­ing that the sup­ply of beef will in­crease in com­ing years, which will ben­e­fit ev­ery­one in the sup­ply chain, in­clud­ing con­sumers,” Mr Stoate said. “While we don’t want beef to be­come un­com­pet­i­tive with other sources of pro­tein, WA beef still rep­re­sents ex­cel­lent value for money.”

Good sea­sonal con­di­tions in WA and across the East­ern States are driv­ing the move by farm­ers to in­crease their herds.

In the past three years, the price of beef in Perth has risen 30 per cent. But those who pre­fer chicken to beef are ben­e­fit­ing.

Chicken meat pro­duc­tion has hit a record high, ris­ing al­most 7 per cent in the past year. The in­crease has helped keep a lid on prices, which have fallen 5 per cent in the past three years.

Even seafood, an Aus­tralian Christ­mas favourite, has re­mained af­ford­able, with prices flatlin­ing.

Aus­tralian Meat In­dus­try Coun­cil WA chair­man Nathan Walm­s­ley said in­de­pen­dent butch­ers were tak­ing a fi­nan­cial hit as they tried to ab­sorb higher costs.

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