Beef industry optimism

Beef industry optimism

Positive news from red meat industry experts had Gippsland beef producers optimistic and a little more confident about the future at Tuesday’ s East Gippsland Beef Conference in Bairnsdale.

“If you’re sitting there with females you’re in a sweet spot,” presenter Robert Herrmann told the 200-plus audience.

“Keep every female whether it’ s sheep or cattle, if you can’t and have to sell, you’ll be well rewarded.” Mr Herrmann, the managing director of Mecardo, an independent agricultural consultancy and market analysis business, co-presented with Simon Quilty, managing director of MLX and an independent meat and livestock analyst. In a fast-paced, information-packed session, Mr Quilty was bold enough to predict the bench-mark Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) would hit 850 cents a kilogram in 2021.

“The Australian herd is at a 30 to 35-year low – the harder we fall the bigger the rebound in terms of price,” Mr Quilty said.

“We will see that rebound in the next six months, 850c/kg is very achievable.

“The challenge is in the cost of rebuilding, when you finally have grass cattle prices will have lifted 30 to 40 per cent.”

Mr Hermann agreed saying he expected cow and mutton prices to go close to the premium prices of the EYCI and lamb.

“It’s very difficult to see the negatives of this situation,” Mr Herrmann said “But in agriculture the negative usually comes out of left field.

“When the drought factors subside – and they will – the important thing is the drop of the female slaughter rate – supply will really contract.

He said there was no impediment to saleyard prices lifting, and that feedlotters, processors and restockers would be ‘fighting for a smaller piece of the cake’.

Mr Quilty also predicted a price correction for grain as the ‘world is flooded with grain’ and in spring a decline in the value of hay.

The conference, now in its sixth year, attracted more than 200 producers and industry representatives.

Mr Herrmann congratulated the organisers for putting on the “biggest and best conference of its type in the state”.

Hosted by Agriculture Victoria, the conference also included local input about ‘tactics in tough times’ from Tambo Crossing and Clifton Creek producers Brad and Jen Smith, Meerlieu and Perry Bridge producers David and Ruth Read, and Monaro farmer Charlie Maslin.

PICTURED: East Gippsland Beef Conference event organiser, Craig Bush, with one of the many top-notch conference presenters Meat and Livestock Australia’s Michael Crowley (centre) and Gippslanders Louise Armit, of Omeo, Elizabeth Balderstone, of Giffard, Rob Bayley, of Willow Grove, Lou McArthur and Dave Caldwell, of Lindenow South, and Anthony Simpson, of Meerlieu.