Culling Begins As Saleyard Prices Drop

AUSTRALIA - Struggling beef farmers have started culling their herds as saleyard prices plummet to 30-year lows on the back of fiercely competitive export markets, understaffed abattoirs and competition from Eastern States imports.
calendar icon 7 November 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

WAFarmers meat section president Mike Norton said yesterday prices had fallen to unviable levels and there were fears among farmers they would be forced to abandon the industry.

He said Australian exports were being undercut in key markets such as Japan, South Korea and the US as the high Australian dollar made WA beef much more expensive for overseas buyers.

Their woes are being compounded by a flood of Eastern States meat resulting from the stock sell-off because of the drought.

Mr Norton said local abattoirs were struggling to find enough staff in the face of the mining boom. Producers also faced higher costs of fertiliser, fuel and grain. “The prices we are getting for our cost of production means that we are running at a hefty loss,” he said. “The indication from the market at the moment is that there is no future in producing beef.”

Mr Norton said beef producers were culling older cows while dairy bull calves, which were sold into the beef trade, were being killed in the paddock because prices would not cover costs of sending them to market.

Rising land values in the South-West meant farmers were increasingly tempted to sell to the timber companies or split land into smaller blocks for hobby farmers. Farther north-east, beef farmers were looking at more profitable cropping.

Source: The West Australian

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.