Cat­tle prices tipped to jump

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - LEANNE OLIVERI

CAT­TLE mar­ket prices keep reach­ing new highs in the north but, ac­cord­ing to one in­dus­try leader, we haven’t seen any­thing yet.

Cat­tle Coun­cil of Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Howard Smith said cat­tle­men could be achiev­ing $ 8/ kg liveweight for feeder steers within the next six months.

That’s right – $ 8 a kilo­gram. To put that fig­ure in per­spec­tive, it’s more than three times the av­er­age prices achieved through the Char­ters Tow­ers and Ma­reeba sa­le­yards in re­cent weeks.

Speak­ing out­side a live cat­tle ex­port fo­rum in Townsville last week, Mr Smith said feeder cat­tle prices in the US had reached the Aus­tralian dol­lar equiv­a­lent of $ 8/ kg and he be­lieved Aus­tralian mar­kets would reach the same gid­dy­ing heights.

“We’re all get­ting ex­cited about $ 2.50/ kg for a feeder steer ( in the north) and we’re get­ting some­where like $ 3/ kg in the south,” he said.

“We haven’t even see­ing high prices yet.

“There’s no rea­son why we can’t reach the kind of num­bers be­ing achieved in the US.”

Mr Smith said world­wide sup­ply and de­mand dy­nam­ics for beef were pointed firmly in

started favour of Aus­tralian beef pro­duc­ers.

“Once sup­ply is di­min­ished week by week in Aus­tralia, even­tu­ally we will have to get close to par­ity ( with the US). I think in the next six months we will see dra­matic rises.”

Mr Smith con­ceded a fig­ure like $ 8/ kg rep­re­sented a ma­jor par­a­digm shift for an in­dus­try that con­sid­ers $ 3/ kg a lofty price goal.

“We’re that used to get­ting some of the low­est cat­tle prices in the world in the last 12- 18 months, it’s hard for us to com­pre­hend,” he said.

“It’s the first time in history that de­mand glob­ally is higher than the sup­ply.”

Mr Smith said re­tail prices may rise some­what. But he added that pro­ces­sors had been mak­ing large mar­gins and could ab­sorb higher costs by re­duc­ing those mar­gins.

Howard Smith.

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