It's all about finding best value for our beef

It's all about finding best value for our beef


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COW CULL: Drought has forced farmers to sell record numbers of breeding cows and heifers which will slow herd rebuilding when good seasons return.

COW CULL: Drought has forced farmers to sell record numbers of breeding cows and heifers which will slow herd rebuilding when good seasons return.

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The drought-triggered liquidation of the beef breeding herd has raised fears Australia might not be able to service some of its export markets.

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The drought-triggered liquidation of the beef breeding herd has raised fears Australia might not be able to service some of its export markets.

But Meat & Livestock Australia market intelligence manager Scott Tolmie said Australia produced just 3 per cent of global beef production and could never feed the world.

Mr Tolmie said some markets were already missing out.

The goal, he said, was to find the beef markets prepared to pay the most money.

Through extensive market research, MLA had identified the location of "pockets" of well-heeled consumers in target cities in Asia and other parts of the world who were likely to buy Australian beef.

He said while our beef exports were expected to decline slightly in 2019 after six straight calendar years above 1 million tonnes, they would still be above levels in the early 2000s.

Meanwhile, MLA senior market analyst Adam Cheetham said producers were itching for a major seasonal break to start rebuilding the herd from the present drought-depleted 25.2m head.

Mr Cheetham said herd numbers were further whacked by extreme flooding in northern Queensland earlier this year with losses at between 500,000 and 700,000.

He said given ideal seasonal conditions, producers were expected to rebuild the herd to around 28m head during the next four or five years.

He said slaughter was likely to drop to about 7m head next year.

Rain would spark competition for young cattle but he couldn't speculate what level the young Eastern Young Cattle Indicator would reach.

MLA managing director Jason Strong said with global beef demand at an all-time high, Australian producers were well-placed to take advantage of the growing market for high value products.

He told a recent Herefords Australia breed forum that markets like Singapore didn't take a big volume of beef but paid premium prices for it.

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