BEEF exports to key markets may have slipped this year, but there are signs of shipments improving month on month.
The October beef export figures from the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment were about 5400 tonnes (shipped weight) higher than September's shipments, while chilled beef and veal volumes improved by almost 600t.
However, there's still a vast difference in the beef volumes shipped overseas this year compared with last.
Australia shipped a total of 113,719t of beef and veal in October 2019, while just 78,013t was bound for overseas customers in October 2020. Chilled beef and veal was also back by nearly 3600t when compared with October 2019.
Meanwhile, reduced cattle supply right across the eastern states continues to put a floor in the prime and store markets.
The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator zoomed past its previous all time high to hit 822.5 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) last week and although it's softened a little since, prices are still well above this time last year.
Rain in the past fortnight has also helped keep NSW cattle out of the saleyards.
Lush pastures mean cattle producers can finally finish stock after what's been, for some, years of drought.
Having fallen an estimated 12 per cent in the two years to June 2020, the Australian cattle herd is still forecast by Meat and Livestock Australia to increase by 1.9pc to 25.1 million head in the year-to-June 2021, encouraged by positive seasonal conditions across many production regions and high cattle prices.
MLA market analyst Stuart Bull said looking at prices, with the focus on the herd rebuild and declining female slaughter levels, low supply and high demand should keep pressure on the cattle market.
"The sharp gains that cattle prices experienced in early 2020 have been consolidated, and apart from a short COVID-19-driven slump in March and April, remain at record levels," Mr Bull said.
"Restocker demand will likely remain robust for the remainder of 2020, and high cattle prices are expected across summer."
Those high prices were evident on AuctionsPlus last week when cows with calves hit $5580 a unit.
AuctionsPlus reported the four Speckle Park cows with their second calves were sold by Dale and Robyn Scott from Gippsland in Victoria.
Their agent Alex Dixon of Elders Korumburra said the Scotts' draft of 45 cows with calves averaged $4034 a unit.
Mr Scott said the cattle were bought as weaners during the drought.
"With the current season in Victoria and impending La Nina, there is huge confidence in cattle prices for the next 12 months," Mr Scott said.
"We were hoping to average around $3200, so to average over $4000 is amazing."
BACK TO SCHOOL FOR LICENSED AGENTS
TIME is running out for licensed agents hoping to register for one of the face-to-face Industry Awareness Days across NSW held by Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association.
The Industry Awareness Days are for agents to achieve the required continuing professional development (CPD) hours needed to maintain their licence.
ALPA is conducting these days with full compliance to COVID protocols.
Registration has closed for the days at Wagga Wagga and Griffith scheduled for next week, but agents can still register for days at Bathurst (November 26) and Albury (November 27).
Meanwhile, agents can also enhance their auctioneering techniques and knowledge of the agency industry by attending the NSW Auctioneers School at Warwick Farm on December 2 and 3.
These schools are beneficial for all livestock and property auctioneers, including those who have been in the industry for some time or those just starting out.
The school combines a perfect balance of theory and practical components to help develop into a better auctioneer.
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