La Nina adds spice to markets

Rain extends season and livestock marketing options

Stock and Land Beef
DEMAND: Strong grass driven buyer supportat Hamilton saw this pen of 23 weaner steers, account Lowana weighed 432kg and made 436c.kg or $1887.

DEMAND: Strong grass driven buyer supportat Hamilton saw this pen of 23 weaner steers, account Lowana weighed 432kg and made 436c.kg or $1887.

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A La Nina event will bring plenty of options, but also some challenges to livestock producers

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Livestock producers are preparing to factor in green feed well into summer as forecasters proclaim the formation of a La Nina event.

The Bureau of Meteorology's announcement has been greeted with caution as producers and industry test the implications on their marketing plans.

Nutrien Ag Livestock Development Manager in South East Region, Ron Rutledge, said "everything is pretty positive on the livestock scene".

"It's the first time in a decade that we've had a genuine feed market from Geelong to Dubbo [NSW] where people have excess feed and have to do something with it," he said.

He said the La Nina event meant people were preparing for a greener summer, but with challenges around silage and hay making.

There should be a larger grain harvest which gave people plenty of confidence that the grain fed market for cattle would be acceptable for both buyer and seller.

"Backgrounders also know they can put weight onto cattle. The prices of little cattle are reflective of what the big cattle are making," he said.

People were receiving more than $2000 for bullocks and going back in and buying young cattle at $1400 to $1500 "knowing there is a return if everything remains the same".

Mr Rutledge said the normal seasonal run of slaughter cattle in the next six to eight weeks would present some challenges for prime markets.

He said the rain received already had allowed producers to run their cattle to full specification for feedlot entry, as close to 500 kilograms as possible.

LMB Livestock auctioneer, Bernie Grant, Hamilton, said that if the season held on, lambs "could be two weeks later than normal".

"The winter wasn't overly wet and we just got rain at the right time. It's just been fantastic, but the cold weather the last few weeks has meant the lambs are just holding," he said..

"Invariably it does warm up and the lambs come on. We definitely need a bit of sunshine to get the lambs to bloom up.

"There are very few suckers in and we won't have numbers until early November.

"Marking percentages were higher this year and if the season continues on it will be a corker," he said.

Mr Grant said a La Nina if it transpired, would be good.

Mr Rutledge said in the lamb market there had come through the troughs of a few months earlier.

The lambs at Bendigo Monday, from a wide geographic area, were "all in pristine order", he said.

A lot of stock south of the Murray had been turned off resulting in a lag before lambs south of Ballarat started to hit the market "which is probably another eight weeks away".

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