Prices look strong but pro­duc­tion a con­cern

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK -

WA sheep­meat and beef pro­duc­ers are set to en­joy strong prices into next year on the back of a grow­ing global ap­petite for meat and lim­ited sup­plies.

That is the buoy­ant out­look fore­cast in Rabobank’s Global An­i­mal Pro­tein Out­look 2019 re­port, re­leased last week.

But the re­port flagged a warn­ing about the im­pacts of po­ten­tially lower pro­duc­tive ca­pac­ity across Aus­tralia’s na­tional beef herds and sheep flocks as a re­sult of higher than usual culling of breed­ing stock dur­ing 2018. It said any up­side in do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion would de­pend on im­proved sea­sonal con­di­tions in the com­ing year.

Rabobank se­nior an­i­mal pro­teins an­a­lyst An­gus Gi­d­ley-Baird said the re­port fore­cast slower growth in meat pro­duc­tion in most re­gions of the world in 2019, mainly due to trade ten­sions, high feed prices and African swine fever.

“Global an­i­mal pro­tein pro­duc­tion, pri­mar­ily beef, pork and poul­try, is ex­pected to ex­pand by just over one mil­lion tonnes in 2019 to about 500 mil­lion tonnes,” he said. “This is well be­low the fiveyear av­er­age growth rate.”

For Aus­tralia, re­strained global pro­duc­tion could be pos­i­tive for prices, es­pe­cially fin­ished lambs and cat­tle, ac­cord­ing to the Rabobank re­port. New Zealand’s ex­pected low­est lamb kill on record was ex­pected to help sus­tain Aus­tralia’s sheep­meat prices in 2019.

Mr Gi­d­ley-Baird said Aus­tralian cat­tle num­bers were ex­pected to re­main very low after heavy de­stock­ing be­tween 2013 and 2016, and then again dur­ing the dry con­di­tions of 2018. “There will be lower vol­umes avail­able for feed­lots and pro­cess­ing and, with­out sub­stan­tial rain, 2019 will test many pro­duc­ers al­ready deal­ing with lim­ited and ex­pen­sive fod­der sup­plies,” he said.

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