My good friend Rosemary Champion gave me an update on the Longreach Drovers Reunion.
“The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame hosted the 26th Annual Drovers Reunion on the Labour Day weekend to great acclaim by the 50 drovers and their families who travelled thousands of kilometres from around Australia on their annual pilgrimage to meet their mates again in Longreach,” Rosemary said.
“The original number of drovers tallied 240 when the muster was founded by the late Jim Cuming 26 years ago and this year was particularly a time of reflection and remembrance when four plaques were placed on commemorative bottle trees at the Drovers Grove in a memorial service honouring those who had passed way in the past year.This was followed by the mounting of a commemorative leaf to honour the founder Jim Cuming at the Eternal Muster memorial wall in the open air chapel.
“The Drovers Reunion has been very ably and professionally run by legends of the outback Hank and Berry Cosgrove, who each year travel from Brisbane to the delight of the drovers and their families. They are ably assisted by the fantastic team of droving friends and helpers and the staff at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
“The drovers enjoyed a fun-filled weekend including camp oven dinners, group photos, Lachy Cosser’s highly acclaimed Outback Show, and extensive visits to the Stockman's Hall of Fame to view the new exhibits.
“One such new attraction is the Indigenous Heritage project depicting the lives of the indigenous stockmen and stockwomen. This is proving a very popular addition to the Hall of Fame and continues the never ending stories of the lives of the drovers and their families down through the generations.
“The Drovers Reunion is a celebration of the huge contribution made by drovers across the country and the part they played in the livestock industry in the past and their stories and lives are treasured and honoured by the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
“The Outback Games is always a highlight of the weekend with every event from boiling the billy, damper making, whip cracking, driving the nail, throwing the rolling pin and a unique drovers special throwing the boot at the dog. These events keep alive the traditions of the stockmen and women and are keenly contested. This year the drovers were challenged by a group of young people who demonstrated great skills and gave the old drovers a run for their money and won several events,” Rosemary said.
“The overall winner of the sash for the Champion Ringer across all events for the first time was won by a very talented lady drover – Noelene Lindsay from Dalby.”
Qld trade and heavy cattle price difference narrows
Meat & Livestock Australia reported that a fall in the Queensland saleyard cattle indicators occurred again this week – continuing the trend that commenced as 2016 opened.
While not what producers had hoped for, particularly after an astonishing rise in 2015, the decline correlates with a reduction in global beef prices.
Of particular interest is that Queensland heavy steer prices (500-600kg C4) have declined to a lesser extent than trade cattle (330-400kg C4) – as confidence wanes at the lighter spectrum of the market with the ongoing lack of rain.
During 2015, the average weekly premium for trade steers over the heavy steer indicator was 31¢/kg cwt. This stretched to 131¢/kg cwt very briefly at the beginning of 2016, with some rain boosting confidence for young cattle, but since then the gap has narrowed and the trade indicator has dropped at a faster rate than the heavy indicator.
Last week the difference between the two indicators dropped to 47¢.
For the months ahead, considering the close relationship between Australian cattle prices and the US market, the ongoing uncertainty in that market will continue to limit upward price potential.
Some analysts are forecasting the recent falls in US imported beef prices to stabilise, but they are not likely to recover to the levels recorded at the beginning of the year. This will also means it will be difficult for the Queensland heavy steer indicator to recover to the levels seen at the beginning of 2016 through the winter months.
As the peak rainfall period for Queensland draws to a close, it is also now doubtful the demand for the lighter/younger spectrum of the market will ignite, suggesting the gap between heavy and trade cattle will continue to narrow.
Largely pending on rain, it will probably be younger cattle that continue to ease at a greater rate than heavy cattle – the extent at which will hinge heavily on when and at what level the US market stabilises.
We took Richard from NZ to Aussie
Last week while having lunch with Brisbane-based pastoralists Jim Scully and Richard Barbour, I got some background on Richard’s grazing interests and his interesting past.
On the rural scene, Richard’s Kyogle district property in the Northern Rivers NSW is now enjoying a very reasonable season, and his beef cattle are in good order.
On his interesting past, Richard said: “On April 26 1968 I left Auckland for Sydney, 48 years ago today, on two-year work agreement with Price Waterhouse. Little did I know what was in store and the magnificent years that followed!
“This time 48 years ago it was my mother’s 54th birthday (she would be 102 today) and Jumbo and I were drinking in NSW Rugby Club in Crane Place till all hours. I met Carol on May 29, 1968, married on April 8, 1969 and later produced three sons and six grandchildren.
“I enjoyed a successful professional life and lived in four great Aussie places. I’m still a NZ national but true Anzac! I’ve never lost a Bledisloe Cup and won five World Rugby Cups.
“You can take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy!”
Richard and Carol now live the “good life” in New Farm, Brisbane.
Jason Thomson, Schute Bell, reported that the wool market continued to be volatile this week with most micron categories regaining last week’s losses and then adding some extra. The Aussie dollar once again played its part as it retreated against the US dollar on the back of lower than expected inflation figures and fresh talks of further interest rate cuts.
The national offering was considerably smaller than forecast resulting in just 32,468 bales sold for the week with a low 5.5pc passed in. Major buyers included Techwool, PJ Morris and Chinatex. Discounts are beginning to widen on heavier vegetable matter fleece and skirting types with AWEX reporting this week’s national Merino Fleece offering carrying more than 1pc vegetable matter was at a two year high.
Forward market prices tracked the physical market up but remain at a discount to this week’s auction close. Upcoming auction offerings are now forecast to be below 40,000 bales per week for the next three weeks.
This is down considerably on the corresponding period last season. With the season to date offering already down 7.2pc or roughly 110,000 bales it appears almost certain that this figure will continue to grow.