Pre­dic­tion - cat­tle prices may reach new heights

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

“SHOULD the drought get worse and con­tinue into next year, then it is fore­see­able that when good rains come and prices re­bound the highs of 725ac/kg CW of Oc­to­ber 2016 could be sur­passed in the 2020-2022 pe­riod.”

So said beef in­dus­try an­a­lyst, Si­mon Quilty, late last month.

Mr Quilty be­lieves the cat­tle mar­ket will hit its low­est point this Oc­to­ber – give or take a month – and then will be­gin to make ground, or at the very least, sta­bilise.

“It would not be un­fair to think that Aus­tralian cat­tle prices would trade lower next year if the drought wors­ens - I do not be­lieve this will oc­cur, but in­stead is likely after Oc­to­ber to trade side­ways or even higher due to the old adage ‘you can only kill them once’,” Mr Quilty said. Mr Quilty is "con­fi­dent" that within the next four years, cat­tle records will tum­ble as prices sky­rocket due to strong global beef prices.

De­spite the pos­i­tive mar­ket pre­dic­tion, pro­duc­ers are strug­gling for feed dayto-day as they nurse stock through the dry win­ter.

“There is a lot of pres­sure com­ing from north of the bor­der,” El­ders Live­stock agent, Ryan Sergeant, said. "NSW is hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the south­ern mar­kets - the nega­tive pres­sure is putting a lot of ex­tra pres­sure on down here.”

Mr Sergeant works from Mans­field through to Alexan­dra and Glen­burn and be­yond.

He said lo­cal cat­tle were sell­ing well – and to good prices – due to a lim­ited num­ber of fat an­i­mals on the mar­ket.

“Mar­kets are gen­er­ally dearer, but that’s be­cause the de­mand has in­creased for qual­ity cat­tle; the sup­ply just isn’t there,” Mr Sergeant said.

With that sup­ply now tipped to peter out, Mr Sergeant said the next few weeks would be telling.

“Around this re­gion we are wilter­ing out of our fat cat­tle be­cause we are go­ing through a tough win­ter - an­i­mals are just hold­ing their own, they aren’t putting any weight on, and (so) it’s get­ting too cold for our fat cat­tle to be good enough,” he said.

With spring just weeks away, Mr Sergeant said it was likely the mar­ket would hold out longer than usual – un­til Oc­to­ber – be­fore fall­ing slightly short term.

“A price de­cline is com­mon go­ing into spring be­cause of the vol­ume in­crease,” he said.

“The gen­eral rule of thumb is to get rid of your fat cat­tle be­fore Mel­bourne Show weekend.

“In late Septem­ber early Oc­to­ber we of­ten see a price de­cline be­cause the Rive­rina and New Eng­land cat­tle come out of New South Wales.”

ON THE RISE: An in­dus­try ex­pert pre­dicts cat­tle prices will hit their low­est in the cur­rent cy­cle this Oc­to­ber be­fore re­bound­ing to new heights over the next four years.

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