TOUGH seasonal conditions and patchy rain has curbed buying by restockers in the cattle market by as much as 24 per cent.
New data from Mercado Market Analysis shows restocking numbers throughout Australia have dropped significantly within the beef cattle sector.
It is a trend that doesn’t surprise Book Book cattleman Marc Greening of Injemira Beef Genetics in southern NSW.
In fact, he said one of the strategies adopted at his Book Book, Tarcutta and Holbrook operations was to trade during times of feed shortage.
Other measures such as sowing summer crops including forage brassacas was also helping to make use of information gathered from long-range weather forecasts.
“We have had years as dry as this before, it is just that we have missed the rain during critical times for pasture growth with September being incredibly dry,” he told The Rural.
“On a positive note the feed that is there is of high quality and it is surprising how well the cattle look.”
“What we are lacking is any bulk in the feed,” he said.
Despite the dry conditions and later-than-hoped-for breaks in the season he said few people had implemented supplementary feeding strategies.
“I don’t think many people around here are supplementary feeding … they would be starting to look at this now and determine whether or not to purchase fodder,” he said.
Given the big numbers, just shy of 5000 at the cattle market in Wagga on Monday, that are going under the hammer producers were also offloading “non-core” animals.
“While we are not in full drought mode at the moment people are strategising about what they are doing and where they are going,” he said.
In an online webinar cattle market analyst with Mercado, Matt Dalgleish said 2017 was facing an uncharacteristic price decline across the sector.
“We are below what is normal for this time of year (in terms of prices),” he said.
However, rain in Queensland and parts of northern NSW had helped to give the market a small kick in recent weeks.
He said rainfall, or lack of it at key times, was playing a big role in the market situation.
“Victoria and southern NSW were uncharacteristically dry for June and the start of winter,” he said.
“We have had a very dry winter, particularly for most parts of NSW, and we are still below average,” he said.
As a result the data he presented in the webinar indicated that restockers had decreased their activity by 24 per cent.
And lot feeder activity was also showing a decline.