Eyes to the sky as prices dry
ALL eastern states daily indicators for sheep and cattle prices are sitting lower than the same time last year as producers across the nation wait for rain.
While Anzac Day, the traditional start date for the autumn break, is still two weeks away, many livestock producers interstate are feeling the effects of a long, hot summer.
This is pushing higher numbers on to the market, meaning a double blow for those forced to sell as prices dip under volume pressure.
Sheep and cattle prices are still historically high, but all eastern state lamb indicators sit 60c/kg to 115c/kg below the same time last year.
The Eastern Young Indicator is 127.25c/kg year on year.
Western Victorian consultant Steve Cotton, of Dynamic Ag, said it had been 10 to 12 weeks since his region saw significant rain.
“Feed quality has been pretty low for a long time, so in reality if the farmer isn’t [supplementary] feeding 80 to 90 per cent of their sheep’s requirements, they are going backwards.”
Mr Cotton said while the dry might have been good for Cattle lower worm control, it had a negative effect on summer crops, finishing lambs and pregnancy scanning results for ewes.
“Scanning results are variable,” off a Mr Cotton said.
“We have seen up to 20 per cent dry in November-December joined sheep which is unusual and a challenge.
“Feed quality early in the summer might not have been as good as we thought. There is anecdotal evidence of heat stress when rams are out with ewes, and overall if feed quality was declining people may not have been quick enough to start feeding.”