Rarely if ever has our industry seen such buoyancy across all markets particularly at this time of the year. Prices for all our commodities are at extremely good levels. Wool, lamb, mutton and beef are all returning outstanding results to producers. Whilst beef prices have declined somewhat from the heady days of some time ago they are still at or very near too historically record levels with regards to price.
Lambs are setting records with one major Victorian centre recording the best price ever gained at $250 plus in recent days, with mutton we are seeing levels achieved in the physical market that we normally associate with the depth of winter prices. The story of the wool market just keeps going from strength to strength with the specialist wool producer finally seeing their perseverance being rewarded after many years in the doldrums. At this time in the cycle it is great to be a Livestock Agent.
Speaking of agency life, it has been, in recent years rare to see as many firms seeking to employ young people into our industry. In a recent edition, one of our major rural journals had 4 or 5 adds from companies looking to employ keen young energetic personnel. People suggest to the writer that in Dubbo alone there could be as many as 5 to 6 employment opportunities within the agency industry if people with the right profile were to come along. Speaking from personal experience after some 54 years the journey has for the most part been enjoyable.
ABARE has recently release their 2017 – 2018 beef forecast. Some of their statistics are as follows the average saleyard prices is estimated to be 465c/kg (carcass weight) which is a year on year decline in price. Having said that, if this figure is achieved over the year it will be 23 per cent higher than the 20-year average.
The lower average price will probable come about because of increased competition in some of our key markets mainly Japan and the United States along with increased turn-off in Queensland and NSW. Slaughter numbers are anticipated to grow by 9 per cent to 8.1 million head. Overall cattle numbers are predicted to rise by 4 per cent to 24 million head with total beef production to rise 12 per cent to 2.3 million tonnes with the average carcass weight to settle at 298kg. If seasons are good ABARE predicts that the slaughter of cows and heifers will decline to 44 per cent from a high of 51 per cent as producers embark on herd re-building.
It’s probably my last column for 2017. Thanks to the Liberal and Western Magazine for their continued support, also thanks to Tim Sampson and his girls at the DSSA office and finally a special vote of thanks to Kylie and Katie at Barlow Peadon Schute Bell who prepare the column in a suitable format.
May the festive season be one of peace and contentment for all and I hope to be back again in 2018.