The threat of foot and mouth disease on the cattle market has opened up an opportunity for Northern Tablelands restocker John Kennedy.
The Uralla producer has been backing himself since he bought his first farm at 26 and last year purchased 18,000 head. During the drought he destocked completely and within 15 days of the first rain began to buy again by the thousands.
His most recent purchase of 3500 head are seen as "an opportunity".
"Cattle are the best value they've been for two and a half years," he said. "My country's wet and I've got oats. Yes there is a bit of foot and mouth hype but Australia has held it off for now. For me it's business as usual.
"If you react to every scare you won't do anything. It will either be too wet or too dry. There's always something wrong.
"When I started buying after the drought people thought I was crazy but all that year the prices just went up and up. There's over 8000 head on the properties right now and we still consign cattle every month. Nothing's changed. You just got to keep at it. Keep going. Life's short, have a go!"
Mr Kennedy reminded producers that the threat of FMD is not new.
"We trade with countries where it is endemic. We've never had an issue.
"Sure, it is so close but there is still a fair stretch of water to get across.
"The best thing to do is remain calm. I predict prices will rise back to where it was. There is a shortage of cattle.
"But we have nervous people and they feed on one another. A lack of confidence feeds on itself and that's what happens in the markets - it falls more than it should and it rises the same way.
Mr Kennedy credits our diverse access to markets, far beyond the situation in 1974, for adding the the optimism.
"The world has a much bigger population now that needs feeding. I predict we will see a 10-15pc commodity rise next year and then it might stay there. I'll back that. It's my money in the game."
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