The dry winter is here and with no sign of beneficial rains for the next three or so months, it will not be easy for many producers.
There is limited competition for livestock in the physical markets and this combined with purchasers being selective, means the chances of a market improvement are remote. During the coming months we can expect larger lines of livestock to hit markets around the state.
The Central Highlands commence monthly special store sales in June at Emerald, and the Roma saleyards will host significant lines of quality weaners from regular vendors over the next two months.
There will be repeat buyers lining up to bid I have no doubt, we just need to find a little more competition so hopefully some autumn rains may eventuate into the southern states to provide the extra competition to reward those producers.
The sad thing about this extensive dry spell is that many were rebuilding their breeding capacity over the past few years as we tracked towards 30 million cattle in Australia at the end of 2019/20. Replacement heifers are being forced onto markets as the dry continues.
The EYCI is a significant indicator for the market, and it is interesting to review the market over the past couple of years by the detail provided in the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI).
This indicator is calculated daily, on a moving average for vealers and yearlings at major cattle markets in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. Unfortunately, the EYCI is at its lowest point for the past three years, currently standing at 485c/kg, back 148c/kg on the same time last year (633c/kg). The peak for the EYCI three years ago was 725c/kg carcase weight
The Indicator for Trade Lamb during the past 12 months tells a similar story. This week the indicator was at 594c/kg carcase weight. In the same period last year the indicator was sitting at 640c/kg carcase weight, a less significant fall.
One pleasing aspect for the lamb trade and producers is that the lamb price has improved every spring for the last five years and indications are the same will occur again in the spring of 2018.
The annual Queensland State Sheep Show was held in conjunction with the Blackall show this year and South Queensland general manager for Landmark, Damon Ferguson, attended the judging of both the sheep and wool sections of this year’s show.
Damon reported a strong turnout of exhibitors and wool industry supporters.
“The wool section received over 200 fleeces, which I believe to be the largest turnout of any show in Queensland this year,” he said.
With the wool market in the strongest position for many years, some western Queensland producers are looking to build flock numbers in the face of the ongoing seasonal challenges. Despite the widespread rainfall during the March weather event, lack of any widespread follow-up has seen much of the west once again looking ominously towards the winter season.
“Some areas around Tambo have received handy follow-up, however most areas have missed any meaningful falls, which is disappointing for the in communities out here,” Damon said.
It was great to see interstate visitors to the show such as Stuart Murdoch representing the Haddon Rig stud. Stuart returned to Blackall where he worked on Portland Downs and then for Dalgety’s in their sheep and wool team in the mid 1990s. Stuart reminisced about the big ram days and sheep sales that were part of the fabric of the west, and while we are yet to see a significant increase in flock numbers gauging by the enthusiasm and confidence surrounding the industry, a vibrant sheep and wool industry for western Queensland may not be too far away.
Northern Beef Producers have their annual Commercial Cattle Competition of Friday June 8 at Charters Towers Saleyards. Incorporated in the competition is junior schools judging competition. Entries close Friday June 1. Contact marketing agents Queensland Rural, Landmark or Elders.