Market fattens up
By EMMA CORNFORD
RECORD cattle prices have Clarence Valley beef producers rubbing their hands together at the prospect of a productive few months ahead.
On Tuesday the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI), the benchmark for Australian cattle prices, reached 400 cents per kilogram carcase weight, surpassing the previous record of 398 cents per kilogram set in September last year.
Although prices in the Valley may not be quite as high, cattle producers and livestock salesmen agree that prices in the past few weeks have soared.
"Prices are very good and I think everyone in the industry would be happy with the way things are at the moment," said cattle producer Fred Morgan.
"Before the rain a lot of people sold stock off which depressed the market because there was such a large supply.
"But with the prices available we might as well take advantage of that as a safeguard for the summer months. It really makes a huge difference, especially if you're selling off your main volume of cattle for the year."
Kangaroo Creek beef producer Ken Hughes agreed.
"It's been good in the past few weeks, but in reality those prices need to be sustained ? all the time," Mr Hughes said.
"I think it will probably be November or December when the prices come back again."
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Cattle producers and Elders livestock salesman Peter Sawyer attributed the rise to recent rains throughout New South Wales.
"It all comes down to supply and demand and with the rain so widespread, even out west and around places in serious drought, producers want to buy up and restock to take advantage of that," Mr Sawyer said.
He said optimism about the buoyant market and the introduction of the National Livestock Identification System at the beginning of July had also played a part.
Prices at the Grafton Saleyards have risen by 20 to 30 cents per kilogram in the past three weeks and Mr Morgan said sellers could expect an extra $100 per head of calf at the yards.