High prices no fix in wake of drought

21st April 2021 | Eativity editors

Despite cattle prices reaching record highs, producers right across Australia still have a long way to go to recover after up to nine years of drought. Cattle Council of Australia President Markus Rathsmann says that while the record high prices are helping in the recovery, they haven’t created a windfall for beef producers.

“The cattle herd is going through a rebuild phase, which means producers aren’t selling much stock, so they’re not getting big returns,” he says.

According to Meat & Livestock Australia Cattle national saleyard surveys, the number of cattle being sold has dropped 26 percent across our five biggest producing states and territories compared to those numbers five years ago.

Australian cattle numbers fell to their lowest level in two decades in 2020.

“The increasing price is a sign there just aren’t that many cattle in the system,” Rathsmann says. “The higher price helps, but if you don’t have stock to sell it makes little difference.”

Last year, the national herd was down nearly four and a half million cattle from a high of more than 29 million in 2013. Rathsmann says that it’s important the community recognises it will still take years for some producers to recover after up to nine long years of drought.

“We expect the national herd to bounce back in the next few years, benefitting producers, consumers and the whole supply chain,” he says. “I thank the community for their support during the drought and ask they stick with us as our industry gets back on its feet.”