Cattle prices still high for better or worse
LOCAL producers continue to experience some of the best cattle prices of their careers, with low numbers in the national cattle herd maintaining record-high prices for beef products.
Many Australian farmers have spent the past few months selling off cattle in increasingly high numbers to cash in on the surge in pricing, some Gympie region producers among them.
"The business is certainly the best I've ever known,” Upper Kandanga grazier, Australian Brahman Breeders president and Garglen Brahman co-principal Shane Bishop says.
"There was a stronger-than-expected start to the season as well which has certainly helped our business.”
While Mr Bishop said these record-breaking prices were unlikely to continue to change in the near future, attention amongst farmers is turning to replenishing herd numbers.
Meat and Livestock Australia's most recent quarterly report has described national herd numbers as severely depleted.
Increases in production and significant drought in prime cattle regions including western Queensland is being blamed for the low numbers, which have devastated local businesses.
Low herd numbers have also caused a number of complications for the live export industry, with many trade partners unwilling to front up the costs for Australian cattle and beef.
"It's currently cheaper to have American mince imported here than it is to send local product overseas,” Mr Bishop adds.
However, Mr Bishop is confident the industry will recover, citing a similar situation with the American beef industry.
"There were very similar situations to what we're seeing here over in the States a few years ago,” he says.
"They've managed to repair their industry over a few years; I think by around 2020 we'll have recovered ourselves.”