Promising signs in 2016 cattle market

Monto Cattle and Country's first sale for the year was a cracker. Photo: Emily Smith / Central and North Burnett Times
Monto Cattle and Country's first sale for the year was a cracker. Photo: Emily Smith / Central and North Burnett Times Emily Smith

TTLE prices remain strong, with the first cattle sales of 2016 picking up where they left off last year.

Market reports from Farrell McCrohon and Ray Donovan show that despite some varying quality, the cattle market remains firm across all categories.

Continuing strong demand from re-stockers, along with favourable weather conditions in the Clarence Valley compared to other regions is keeping the market firm, which is good news for all producers, Farrell McCrohon stock agent David Farrell said.

"It's a strong market now, the export market is a bit easier than last year but there are some good prices across the market," he said.

"Last year ended well and we were hoping to see those strong prices continue, so it was good to start the year off well."

Mr Farrell said he hoped the strong start to the year was a sign of things to come.

"It looks like it'll continue into this year," he said.

"It's hard to draw a line and predict the trend for 2016 but it was a good start to the year, and we hope the market will stay strong."

Ray Donovan stock agent Mitch Donovan said the export cattle market faced a price correction from the end of last year, and it could take a few weeks before the market found a balance.

"It was a bit of a drop in a short amount of time," he said.

"Export buyers and producers are playing a bit of cat and mouse at the moment trying to find out what the numbers are like in the country, so it might take a few weeks before the market finds the right price."

Mr Donovan said there had been enough rain in the area for sellers to be able to hold out on their price, driving the market up.

"The re-stockers are what's keeping the market up at the moment," he said.

"The producers over the last six months have sold their cattle for big money, and if they need to re-stock now they have the money to buy, so it makes the market."

Despite a yarding of only 394 head of cattle at the Grafton Saleyards on Tuesday, Mr Farrell said the smaller sale was actually good for this time of year.

"It was our first sale, there's always a buffering zone at the start of the year," he said.

"People hold off for the second sale sometimes, others are away on holidays so traditionally the first sale is a bit lower.

"But compared to this time last year, there was actually more cattle yarded which was good."

While there has been some significant rain over the Christmas period, Mr Farrell said many parts of Queensland were still very dry.

"There has been good rain in some parts, which alleviated problems faced by some producers but it's a big country and not everyone was so lucky."

Industry group Meat and Livestock Australia publishes the Eastern Young Cattle Index (ECYI), which is a benchmark for Australian cattle prices.

Notwithstanding a fall in late October last year, the ECYI has trended upwards since December 2014, growing from under 350c/kg to close to 600c/kg.

Topics:  cattle sales grafton

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