Australia’s weather patterns are so diverse this summer that it creating some very different patterns in cattle prices and quality.
It has been so hot across most of NSW that it has caused a big drop in quality, and therefore dressing percentages, especially in cattle.
Victorian producers know only too well the heartbreak some NSW farmers are experiencing in the current spate of bush fires. This weather pattern is being likened to Black Saturday of 2009 in Victoria, and along with property losses, it appears there have been significant stock losses.
Meeriwa, Dunidoo and surrounding districts are prime farming areas, and can be heavily stocked. With many fires still burning, and numerous ones still out of control, it will be devastating for producers.
In direct contrast to this is southern Victoria. I don’t want to mention the “A” word, autumn, but numerous cool, foggy and calm mornings have been noted. Over the weekend, and early this week, temperatures have been between 10 and 17 degrees Celsius in south and west Gippsland, and certainly feels like an early autumn break. We all know better than to assume this though, don’t we.
Wagga Wagga, Wodonga, and most other NSW markets are seeing larger supplies of yearling cattle coming into the market, many in plain condition. However, Wagga Wagga is the only market to keep up a larger supply overall.
Supply of cattle in most Victorian cattle markets are in early decline, but Leongatha, in the heart of South Gippsland, offered just over 2000 cattle last Wednesday. This sale included 900 bullocks, and most of these and most of the other grown and young cattle were in very good condition.
These variations across the eastern seaboard create a difficult environment for judging prices and outcomes, both for producers, and processors.
Some things to consider for the immediate future, are the impact of the fires in NSW, for stock losses affecting supply, and more importantly the overall cost to the industry. Stock movements, heat affected livestock, and rebuilding in fire affected areas, could all come into play.
Despite the cooler conditions in southern Victoria, summer is not over yet, and hot weather could still present itself. If some of the hot winds come from the north we could well be facing similar problems as NSW. So please bear this in mind, and don’t be fooled by cooler temperatures just yet.