SIMILAR to their counterparts in Australia, US mixed farmers are uninspired by grain prices at present and are looking at value-adding opportunities, according to president of Chicago-based AgResources Dan Basse.
Speaking during an Australian tour as the guest of Rabobank, Mr Basse said farmers had identified cattle as a potential opportunity to add value to their grain.
“Farmers see the cattle price and have thought it is a way to make some money out of their cheap grain, by walking the grain off the farm as it were,” Mr Basse said.
He said it had led to a sharp increase in the US cattle herd, which has increased two million head since hitting lows in 2015.
“The cattle industry is in a real expansion phase in the US at present,” he said.
The renewed focus on cattle in the US sends out alarm bells for the Australian industry.
“One of the main reasons cattle are so popular right now is that farmers can see the opportunities for exports, particularly into Asia and nations such as China,” Mr Basse said.
“That means they are going to be going after the same markets that Australia is targeting,” he said.
“The world beef market is very competitive at present and I can’t see that changing.”