A Bureau of Meteorology graph showing rain predictions from February to April.
A Bureau of Meteorology graph showing rain predictions from February to April.

Cattle prices still on high despite decline

THE price of Australian cattle remains high, despite a seasonal price decline of 12% between October and December 2016 according to the Rural Bank.

Despite this decline in prices late in the year, Australian cattle producers begin 2017 in a good position thanks to an initial 2.8 per cent increase in prices.

General Manager - Agribusiness for Rural Bank and Rural Finance Andrew Smith said Australian cattle producers were in high spirits after receiving above average prices throughout 2016.

"While most of the country experienced drier weather conditions towards the end of the year, prolonged dry conditions through summer and autumn could slow re-stocker demand which, as we know, was a significant driver of higher prices in 2016," Mr Smith said.

The majority of Australian cattle producers will enter 2017 in a good position after receiving higher prices in 2016.

The weather and direction of the market in the United States will be key factors affecting continued herd rebuilding and prices in early 2017.

Wetter and cooler conditions are likely in northern and central Western Australia.

Prolonged dry conditions through summer and autumn could slow re-stocker demand, which was a significant driver of higher prices in 2016.

Beef export volumes continued to slide further below 2015 levels.

The latest data from November shows a year-to-date decline of 21.2%.

Increased production in the US, combined with tight supplies and high prices out of Australia, has led to a 44% drop in year-to-date exports to the US.

Lower volumes exported to the US have returned Japan to the number one export market for Australian beef despite exports declining 7% from 2015.



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