Bullock prices on the rise

Supply shortage forces price increases for bullocks


Opinion
QUALITY: Geoff and Leonie Joclyn sold
their much-loved, prime Angus bullocks
at Pakenham on Monday.

QUALITY: Geoff and Leonie Joclyn sold their much-loved, prime Angus bullocks at Pakenham on Monday.

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It has been a while since bullocks sold over 300 cents, but it is happening again.

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Bullock prices are on the rise, but not everybody is reaping the rewards.

Meat & Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service's (NLRS) market reports indicate a big variation in bullock prices across their markets.

This begs the question, why the discrepancy in prices?

Over the past few months, it has been noticed that bullock prices, particularly at Leongatha, have been higher than everywhere else.

When asked why prices had been so high at Leongatha, Landmark SGL manager Terry Ginnane, Leongatha, said buyers had indicated quality had been better.

"Our season has been the best in Victoria," Mr Ginnane said.

"South Gippsland is among the best bullock fattening country in Australia, and we can supply volume, and quality."

It is interesting, according to the NLRS market reports, that two saleyards stand alone, when supply is counted.

Leongatha is the first, and most understandable, given the quality of the country, and its propensity to withstand drought.

However, the second is Shepparton, who have had continuing consistency of supply, but is, and quite often, very dry, or in drought.

Sam Nelson, Mulcahy & Nelson, Shepparton, said the drought had continued to drive their supply.

"While cows are the dominant class of cattle being sold, we do have a number of very good bullocks that have come to our market," Mr Nelson said.

Mr Ginnane said the Leongatha area specialised in fattening heavy bullocks, with many sold that are 700 kilograms liveweight, or higher.

"This, at most times, grants us more buying power, and we are also closest to the major processors," he said.

"While I can't answer for other markets, our quality leads to better dressing percentages, and less dark cutters, which does give us an advantage."

Other markets are offering only a few good bullocks, and because of the drought, dressing percentages, and meat yields, are down too.

This accounts for most of the disparity in prices across the markets.

Last week at Leongatha, many prime bullocks sold over 300 cents a kilogram, and reached a top of 313.6c/kg lwt.

So far, the only bullocks to top this were offered by Geoff and Leonie Joclyn, Mangalore.

"We have little grass, but our own bred bullocks are only two years-old, and weighed 720kg," Mr Joclyn said.

The Joclyns' bullocks sold for 314.6c/kg lwt.

Both Mr Ginnane and Mr Nelson said their markets were very large, due to a big increase in the supply of cows, which was price-driven.

Both agreed that a good rain would reduce their supply significantly after this.

When asked if the bullock prices were affecting how producers replaced their stock, Mr Ginnane said since Christmas, bullock fatteners have had the best trading profits seen for a very long time.

"If you are being paid in excess of $2000 for your bullocks, you can replace them with yearling steers for around $1200 to $1400, and have them resold within 12 months," Mr Ginnane said.

"It is possible that prime bullocks will exceed 330c/kg lwt, in the near future."

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