Victorian meat processors agree with farmers that the current state of the beef cattle market is depressing.
Graziers in the state’s Gippsland region claim to be receiving the same prices for beef cattle as they did 25 years ago. Queensland beef producers also echo this sentiment.
Warragul meat processor Robert Radford says the market is struggling to deal with the immense volumes of cattle being sold by NSW and Queensland farmers affected by drought.
“There has been a huge amount of extra stock onto the market, and the market is just not coping with the numbers. Processors are all at full capacity,” he said.
“It’s pretty depressing news over the past six months, especially if you’re a cattle producer.”
His business Radford Meats draws stock from around the country, but Mr Radford says he now receives far more calls and offers of stock than he can accommodate.
“You only have a certain amount of product that you can process to cover your orders.
“My main priority is clients that have been selling for a number of years, you look after them number one.”
He suggests in such times, relationships between graziers and processors become all the more crucial.
“If you haven’t got a relationship with a good agent, who can place cattle in a reasonable amount of time without having to wait too long, or a relationship with an abattoir or
wholesaler direct, you’re going to have trouble,” he said.
“The only other option is to take them into the market, and you get what the going rate is. So it’s pretty depressing.”
Mr Radford is optimistic that prices will rebound one rain begins to filter down the east coast. In light of that, he encourages any farmers who can to avoid sending
more cattle to the saleyards.
“My suggestion at this stage is to try and hold your stock as best you can. If you can afford to feed them grain, that’s probably an option,” he said.
“Supplementary feeding is the only hope really until we get more growth in our grass. But the stock has to be worth feeding. There’s no point feeding stock that
are not up to scratch.”