The weekend’s torrential rain is expected to deliver mixed fortunes for the cattle industry and, in particular, the upcoming weaner sales.
The heaviest falls, which fell east of Echuca across to the northeast ranges, dumped upwards of 125 millimetres over a tight 48 hour period.
In interstate districts to the north, similar falls were recorded in some southern and central NSW areas while falls of 50 mm or more were more common across northern NSW.
For the graziers and croppers in the southern half of NSW Landmark national livestock coordinator, Mark Barton believes more bad than good will occur as a result of this big wet.
He says much of the area’s dry standing feed will be damaged and this will only raise more caution among livestock traders who are already wary about the price differential that has emerged between the store market and current feeder rates.
Mr Barton said that in central and northern parts many specialist operators were still seeking a run-off rain to replenish depleted ground water reserves. What we wont see he says is a rush of pre-christmas inquiry because of the $60-70/head freight component that needs to be added to get cattle home.
Mr Barton said that many of the interstate operators will also have an issue with the weight expected in this year’s southern weaner drop. “From what we’re hearing a large percentage will present with weights exceeding 350 which is well above the 250-320kg range normally sought,” he said.
Elders southern livestock manager Peter Homann was more optimistic about the potential in southern areas. He said the recent rain will bring further stability in the supply and price of both store and slaughter cattle which he says became too dear and then too cheap over the past 12 months.
“We believe prices are well placed at the moment,” Mr Homann said. “Southern Australia is experiencing an exceptional season and we expected the southern region can absorb all of its own cattle.”
“Cattle prices, although recently volatile, are still very good on historical terms, and we have options. The demand for beef is improving in the world market. We have recently consigned three slaughter shipments to China by boat, and there are heifer boat orders for China that need to be filled.”
The regions largest impediment he says is that many producers are still looking at cattle they have paid more money for than what they will receive.
“These cattle have done their time,” Mr Homann said. “They need to be traded for younger stock that will offer greater potential going forward than adding more weight to stock in hope of breaking even.
“The market should soldier on a current levels”.