Producers try to salvage something from crop damage

Agents west of Dubbo report that many of their clients have given up on at least some of their crops and are now either putting their existing stock on some or trying to source suitable sheep or cattle to at least salvage something out of the crop trainwreck.

Plain bare shorn wethers/ewes have been discussed as an option. Sheep may be preferred to bigger stock when time restraints are taken into consideration.

Stock and property: Stock agent Bill Tatt discusses the wider impacts from the serious frosting of some crops, including canola. Photo: File

Stock and property: Stock agent Bill Tatt discusses the wider impacts from the serious frosting of some crops, including canola. Photo: File

Some crops including canola have been seriously frosted.

Dubbo agents on at their prime cattle sale on Thursday presented buyers with a draw of 7200 head.

A higher percentage of cattle were drawn from a closer radius than in previous days and this contributed to more finish in the line-up. Southern re-stockers orders were still a mainstay and the market held up very well when compared to the previous week. Really plain secondary cattle suffered the biggest hit.

The lamb market currently is enjoying history-making buoyancy when, by the middle of June, the industry had enjoyed 20 successive weeks of prices above 600c/kg carcase weight, this trend has continued and with only an odd dip or two along the way has maintained this momentum.

China has become a formidable player in this market and for the early months of 2017 its imports were up by 47 per cent on 2016 figures 8177 tonnes, by June that figure had reached 21,153 tonnes –  a record.

The fact that lamb availability in New Zealand is weaker and China also had a decline in local lamb production saw this windfall come Australia’s way.

As mentioned previously, consumption of chicken in this country far outstrips that of beef, mutton and lamb.

Production of chicken meat has increased every year over the last five years and by 2021/22 analysts suggest production will exceed 1.4 million tonnes.

Domestic consumption by then is expected to be in the order of 49.6kg per person. Also at that time Australia would hope to export some 40 million tonnes with Asia and the Pacific countries being the primary destinations.

Terry Mitchell, livestock manager for Fletcher International, has drawn attention to a re-occurring problem that is front and centre at the moment for all sheep and lamb processors.

We refer to the problem of grass seed, which has once again become rampant.

Barley grass, spear grass and all seed contaminants are being seen in large infestations in sheep and lambs.

It is in the best interests of all concerned where possible for producers to minimise this problem. Sooner rather than later processors will have to impose penalties on affected livestock to protect their returns if the seed penetration continues.