Increased demand for lean Aussie trim from overseas consumers is starting to trickle down to NSW saleyards with cull cow prices on the increase over the past fortnight.
Meat and Livestock Australia reported medium cow prices up 260c/kg liveweight this week to average 290.7c/kg.
The move follows on from recent news that Foodservice demand is on the up in the US following vaccine distribution and government stimulus, while an alleged Russian hack against Brazilian processing giant JBS resulted in abattoirs closing in all countries where the company has a footprint.
According to MLA reporting, "there is growing concern regarding the beef supply scenario in the US. Cold storage levels are down on a year ago, there are operational disruptions ... and tight cattle supplies continue from Australia and New Zealand. All of these have coincided with a rebound in consumer demand."
Kyogle processor David Scarrabelotti, Greenmountain Trading confirmed the recent rise in export opportunity but warned producers that prices need not jump again in response to the news.
"Just because beef exports are storing doesn't mean cattle need to get dearer," he said.
Certainly lack of supply is playing its part. At Grafton prime sale on Tuesday numbers were back however demand for cull cows was stronger, in line with similar demand the week before, with processors like EC Throsby at Singleton and Bindaree at Inverell winning the bids, reported agent David Farrell.
At Inverell, livestock agent Philip Frame said prices for cows to the processors were up on last week from 296c/kg to 312c/kg with the likes of local meat works Bindaree Beef bidding more strongly for the articles. NH Foods were also interested in cows as was family-owned Victorian processor Ralphs Meats.
Gunnedah reported a stronger cow job for the past fortnight with heavy cows up 6c/kg to 23c/kg to pull a top bid of 330c/kg going to Throsbys.
Tim Walsh, Ray White Fleming and Ross at Gunnedah, said the demand for cull cows was a domestic phenomenon with so few numbers going into winter, a traditionally lean time for beef on the hoof.
"Our long term average has been 1800 head a week and Tuesday we had 610, 130 less than last week. The recent rain will only mean more winter feed. A few cattle are starting to come off nice oats but not many. Now that cattle are getting fat every kilo is another $4 so people are keeping them in the paddock."
Dubbo agent Peter Milling agreed saying there was an "enormous inquiry for all sorts of cattle".
"Supply is a big issue in the market," he said.
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