Cattle and sheep prices to lift as producers rebuild livestock numbers

Saleyard lamb and cattle prices to bound higher as producers rebuild numbers

TIME TO MULTIPLY: The national commodities forecaster, ABARES, expects livestock producers will start rebuilding their flocks and herds in 2019-20.

TIME TO MULTIPLY: The national commodities forecaster, ABARES, expects livestock producers will start rebuilding their flocks and herds in 2019-20.


The national commodity forecaster, ABARES, is tipping lamb and beef cattle prices will soar higher in the new financial year.


Saleyard beef and lamb prices are tipped to rise strongly next financial year as meat buyers jostle for smaller yardings triggered by herd and flock rebuilding.

The national commodities forecaster, ABARES, is tipping saleyard beef prices will jump by 3.4pc, lamb by five per cent and mutton by six per cent in 2019-20.

In its latest agricultural commodities report, ABARES forecast farm export earnings would fall by five per cent to $45 billion next fiscal year. The gross value of farm production was predicted to fall by three per cent to $59 billion.

ABARES' chief commodity analyst, Peter Gooday, said improved seasonal conditions compared with the same time last year weren't expected to lift the overall value of exports.

"The decline in export value is driven by a forecast 11pc fall in the value of livestock exports. Turnoff and slaughter was high this year and producers will be looking to rebuild herds and flocks as seasonal conditions improve," Mr Gooday said.

"Export earnings are forecast to decline for beef and veal, wool, lamb, mutton and live feeder cattle but strong demand from China and other export markets is expected to help keep prices high.

"Export earnings from crops are forecast to increase by three per cent in 2019-20, weighed down by a forecast $1.7 billion fall in the value of cotton exports following a significant fall in production this year.

"Winter crop prospects have improved this year and we expect that to flow through to higher grain production and exports," Mr Gooday said.

"We aren't expecting grain prices to be as good as last year. World export prices of wheat and coarse grains are forecast to fall due to high global production and prices of oilseeds are forecast to fall as an outbreak of African Swine Fever reduces feed demand in China."

Useful rain since March had already sparked herd and flock rebuilding, ABARES said in the report.

The continuation of poor seasonal conditions next financial year was possible but unlikely, it said.

The national cattle herd - already at its lowest level since 1992-93 at 25m head - was tipped to fall marginally in 2019-20 to 24.9m.

Strong export demand for frozen beef coupled with reduced yardings of cows were expected to lift the weighted average saleyard price for cattle by 3.4pc to 460c a kg carcase weight.

Slaughter was tipped to decline by 15.6pc to 7.3m head. As a result, exports to all our major beef markets were predicted to decline, headed by a 20.8pc drop to the US from 240,000 tonnes to 190,000t.

Shipments to Japan were tipped to fall by 16.1pc to 260,000t while exports to the booming China marketed were forecast to drop by 14.3pc to 180,000 tonnes.

Live cattle exports were forecast to drop by 16.7pc to 875,000 head.

Assuming reasonable seasonal conditions, ABARES tipped the national sheep flock would grow by four per cent to 69.3m.

Saleyard lamb prices were predicted to jump by five per cent to 770c a kg carcase weight, the highest price in real terms since 1973-74.

The lamb slaughter was forecast to decline by nine per cent to 20.3m head and the sheep kill by a whopping 28pc to 7.1m. Sheepmeat exports were predicted to drop by 16pc to 395,000 tonnes, valued at $3.1 billion.

Saleyard mutton prices were tipped to climb by six per cent to 455c a kg.

Increased restrictions on the live trade were expected to cut sheep exports by three per cent to 875,000 head.

Wool production was forecast to fall by seven per cent to 352 million kg while the eastern market indicator (EMI) was expected to average 1865c in 2019-20, a drop of four per cent.

ABARES expected prices would be dampened by higher volumes of superfine wool flowing onto the market and the substitution of wool with cheaper fibres in response to historically high prices.

It forecast the value of national crop production in 2019-20 would be similar to last year's $30 billion, weighed down by forecast lower prices and a 20pc lift in grain, oilseeds and pulse production to 36.4 million tonnes, assuming adequate rain for the rest of the growing season.

The national wheat crop was tipped to jump by 22.5pc to 21.19m tonnes but prices were likely to edge lower due to higher global production.

Our exports were tipped to rise by 23.7pc to 11.68m tonnes, worth $4.45 billion.

The national barley crop was forecast to increase by 10.6pc to 9.19m tonnes while sorghum production was forecast to rise by 21.6pc to 1.55m tonnes. Rising global supplies of coarse grains was expected to put a lid on returns.

Canola production was forecast to rise by 18pc to 2.57m tonnes while exports were forecast to grow by 12.8pc to 1.6m tonnes, valued at $1 billion.

The story Cattle and sheep prices to lift as producers rebuild livestock numbers first appeared on Farm Online.


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