Sam Burton Taylor, pictured on his Boorowa farm, said the rise in prices for Australian cattle was an overdue and likely sustained correction. “It won’t be a windfall, it will be more than that.” Photo: Jay CronanThe Canberra region’s cattle producers have been left with smiles this week as beef hit record prices.
A stellar 12 months has seen prices rise by 50 per cent from a year ago and up to 25 per cent in the last three months as weather, stock numbers and the Australian dollar created a seller’s dream.
Boorowa grazier Sam Burton Taylor said the Eastern young cattle indicator’s first push through the 500 cents per kilogram carcase weight mark this week was unlikely to be the end of growing returns.
“It seems to be a sustainable change – and a necessary one,” he said.
“It’s really exciting for farmers, because for the first time in a long time they’re getting their just rewards.
“For processors and exporters, they’ve got to work out how they sell their product at a higher price.”
Mr Burton Taylor, who owns 18,000 head of cattle – mostly Angus in this region, and Angus-Brahman cross on his two Queensland farms – said the extended drought in southern and eastern Queensland and a short supply of young cattle were key factors in the price rises, coinciding with the extensive slaughter of US cattle. Stocking rate higher than normal
Schofield Livestock and Property director Tim Schofield, who acts as agent for Elders Cooma, said increased prices had pumped money into the region’s economy.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have had a good three seasons, so that our stocking rate has been higher than normal and we’ve been able to take advantage of higher prices,” he said.
“This is the best it’s ever been that I can remember. The sheep and the cattle prices are good, and the wool market has improved in the last month – the return on the property has increased sizeably even in six months.”
Queanbeyan farm agents W.J. Gibbs & Co director Greg Darmody said a lack of prime cattle nationally – due in part to a lack of prime crops to move onto in other regions – had led to premium prices.
Meat and Livestock Australia’s last quarterly report said cattle slaughter was higher than expected this year, leading to a “rare sequence” of an expected three consecutive years with more than eight million adult cattle killed.
Last year saw a three-decade high in the number of Australian cattle killed.
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