Ge­netic loss could im­pact cat­tle in­dus­try

Gatton Star - - LOOKING FORWARD AT 2020 - DO­MINIC ELSOME do­[email protected]­ton­

UN­CER­TAIN days lie ahead for the cat­tle in­dus­try in the re­gion, with the drought dec­i­mat­ing pro­duc­ers.

Lai­d­ley cat­tle auc­tion­eer David Star­iha has never seen con­di­tions as bad and as wide­spread as this, and warned there was only one solution.

“Un­til we get good wide­spread rain, noth­ing is go­ing to change – it is only go­ing to get worse for these peo­ple,” Mr Star­iha said.

But, even if the re­gion re­ceives drought break­ing rain in the new year, the ef­fects of the drought won’t dis­ap­pear overnight.

“It’s not just in the short­term, in the long-term be­cause they’ve sold off their breed­ers they don’t have that in­come,” he said.

“It’s go­ing to be very chal­leng­ing for a lot of peo­ple.

“I re­ally don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen next year, a lot of peo­ple have got rid of all their cat­tle be­cause it’s just got to the stage where they can’t sus­tain it any­more.

“Ev­ery­one’s in the same boat.

“No one knows what’s go­ing to hap­pen, be­cause a lot of peo­ple haven’t been in this sit­u­a­tion be­fore.”

An­other hur­dle for the in­dus­try will be the loss of qual­ity ge­net­ics, with many sell­ing off their breed­ing stock which could have been built up over decades.

“It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult be­cause, when we get rain, ev­ery­one is go­ing to be try­ing to re­stock and there’s not go­ing to be the cat­tle there for them to buy num­bers wise,” he said.

“And also the price to re­stock is go­ing to be very in­flated be­cause ev­ery­one is try­ing to stock at the same time with lim­ited num­bers of cat­tle.”

With such tougher times ahead, it was hard to stay pos­i­tive – and see­ing the dev­as­ta­tion first-hand made it tougher.

“I just feel sorry for so many peo­ple,” he said.

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