Cattle market projections grim

CATTLE industry projections remain low with drought-breaking rain needed to replenish stock feed across the country.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) released its 2014 industry projections last week with suggestions the cattle market is set to recover, but only once rain arrives.

MLA chief economist Tim McRae said the prolonged hot and dry conditions across most parts of Australia were causing continued flows of cattle onto the market and downward pressure on prices.

“The surge in supply of cattle onto market putting downward pressure on prices is expected to persist until drought-breaking rain is received,” he said.

“Once we finally see decent rain fall across NSW and Queensland, supplies will almost immediately tighten, leaving buyers to compete for reduced numbers.”

Stock and station agent James Gooch of Gooch Agencies said the cattle market locally was suffering due to the extended dry spell.

“There are a lot of people trying to sell, even though they’re reluctant because of the prices,” he said.

“But really, they haven’t got a lot of choice. They’re running out of water.

“In the next fortnight, unless we get any rain, I think those that have managed to hold off until now will be forced to sell, whether they like it or not.”

Mr Gooch said, while it was a buyer’s market, the lack of feed and more importantly water meant the market had slowed.

“The real quality cattle are still selling for a decent price,” he said.

“You can still sell at the moment. When you can’t sell that’s when it’s really bad.

“If we get good rain the market will tighten really quickly and store cattle will firm up 30c or 40c.

“There’s no doubt it’s trying times for a lot of people at the moment, it’s just a matter of hanging in there.”