We are creatures of habit and at the start of each calendar year, we make our predictions and resolutions for the year ahead.
2019 is no exception.
The most common resolutions made late into the evening on the last day of the year are to lose some weight and refrain from drinking alcohol during the week.
As I approach my 60th, to date, I have never broken a resolution; simply I do not make them.
To those who have, good luck, and I hate to say it but nearly 80 per cent of resolutions made for 2019 will be broken by the time you read this column.
Predictions, well they are another thing.
Share traders, for example, make predictions at the start of each year and by the end of the year, many wish they had not.
Most predicted that by the end of 2018 the ASX would sit around 6300 to 6500 basis points. They missed and we closed at around 5600 basis points.
Admittedly, they have to deal with significant variables like the bloke who sends tweets from a round office, so we have to show some sympathy for them with the significant fluctuations that seem to occur on a daily basis.
Predictions for the livestock market thankfully have a little more stability with one reason being that those in “The Know” do not say too much about what they know.
They provide in house data, rely on predictable statistics and potential growth patterns and provide moderate analysis on available figures.
Thankfully, we rarely have to navigate the peaks and troughs of other commodity prices as we experienced last year with a fair degree of stability and consistency in our red meat markets.
One prediction that most agree on is that when we are presented with a wet season the market will lift considerably regardless of the content of any tweet from the round office.
The BOM forecast for rain across the state is not overly encouraging.
There are, however, positive signs that we could be working up into a wet season in the north, which is what we expect at this time of year.
Markets earlier this week have opened in line with how they finished the 2108 year. Major selling centres and most processors get fully into stride next week and numbers are expected to increase significantly.
Toowoomba on Monday opened to similar closing rates in December. Numbers were lighter than expected with restocker types holding firm while there were too few heavier cattle to provide an accurate quote.
Southern markets also were in line with 2018 closing rates. Tamworth did report a stronger market for heavier processor steers and cows.
Roma has the first sale next Tuesday, January 15, and bookings are expected to be close to 10,000 head. Rod Turner, from Landmark Roma, is of the opinion if the rain does not come through early this year the cattle will.
There appears to be an expectation for western producers to move earlier then they would normally want to.
Emerald and Rockhampton are expecting to cater for larger numbers when markets in the Central reopen on January 17 and 18 respectively.
Charters Towers will conduct the first sale for the year on January 16. Speaking with Troy Trevor from Ruralco, Northern agents have been very active with exports out of the port of Townsville right through the later part of 2018 and into the New Year. Three boats are loading in January, with further shipments booked for next month.
Currently feeder steers have been attracting prices around 305c/kg liveweight and feeder heifers at 280c/kg liveweight. Exporters have been active with slaughter boats out of Townsville with heavy ox and bulls making around 300c/kg live.
Reports indicate there are large volumes of suitable live export cattle moving out of the Cloncurry district bound for Darwin as the season has forced the hand of many producers who have few options available but to move now.