Eyes to the sky as prices dry

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT -

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.”

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