Same price for cattle 25 years ago
Victorian graziers say the eastern beef market is in such a poor state that they are now receiving the same prices they were 25 years ago.
Dryland grazier in the state’s Gippsland district, Simon Turner, says the long-term viability of the beef cattle industry is at threat if circumstances don’t improve.
“At the moment, the price of beef is just not sustainable for production. We are now receiving prices that we received 25 years ago,” said Mr Turner.
“Really, our cost of production has probably trebled in that time, so the viability of dryland grazing in beef cattle, particularly in this area, is very marginal."
Hamilton livestock agent Warren Clark says the market is suffering badly from the ongoing drought in Queensland and New South Wales.
"They’ve just got to unload, and you can’t blame them, but it’s certainly having a major effect [in Victoria],” he said.
“There’s no money in cattle at the moment at all. You can see why people are really questioning whether they should stay in cattle.”
Mr Turner, who grazes out in the Bindi district near Omeo, says that while a low Australian dollar is helping shift cattle via the export market, it will ultimately impact on future national herd numbers.
“There’s a reasonable demand for beef, so we can remove everything that needs to go offshore at the moment,” said Mr Turner.
There’s no money in cattle at the moment at all. You can see why people are really questioning whether they should stay in cattle.
Hamilton livestock agent Warren Clark.
“In the long term, it’s reducing cow numbers, our core breeders, so the nation’s herd is declining.”
He says current climate of the industry will only serve to dissuade younger farmers from becoming cattle graziers.
“If the economics don’t stack up, then the next generation is not going to be interested [in beef cattle].
“Who is going to be managing and looking after this landscape in the future? If there is not a reasonable dollar to be made out of it, who is going to be the future generation?”