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ABA Says Cattle Prices Must Go Up Even More

29 March 2011

AUSTRALIA - Australian Beef Association Chairman, Brad Bellinger has said that the current Australian cattle prices may appear to be high and driven by the usual post drought grass mania, but that despite the high Australian dollar, they are still far behind cattle prices being paid in the US, Europe and Brazil.

He said: “World cattle numbers were falling, as houses and alternate land use take over cattle grazing land. The dramatic swing by China from a 14 million tonne self sufficiency in soybeans in 1996, to an importation of 69 million tonnes in 2009, was quickly converting land use from cattle raising to soybean farming, in US, Brazil and Argentina.”

Mr Bellinger said: “The news for Australian beef consumers is much better than for most around the world, as Australian prices have actually been falling, as Coles fight Woolworths for market share. When ABA gave evidence to the ACCC Grocery Inquiry in 2008, we showed that both supermarket chains had mark ups of over 100 per cent and Australian consumers were paying some of the highest prices in the world. At that time the supermarkets claimed three and 17 per cent mark ups respectively and were selling mince at $15/kg. Now they are selling it at $10 per kg! It is now obvious that the ACCC was quite hopeless in their analysis of the evidence presented by the supermarkets at the Inquiry."

Mr Bellinger said: “The supermarkets make huge margins with the sale of beef so they can reduce these margins to cushion consumer pain”.

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