Social media stirred to life late last week when The Land reported a cow with calf topped the market at $400 a unit at Dubbo store sale on Friday.
While some may say the headline was sensational, it does reflect what happened at that sale.
However, I'd question if this is a true reflection of the wider NSW cattle market.
In this case, it's not.
There's plenty of negative commentary and anxiety floating around saleyards (and social media) right now.
Much of it is built on shaky ground and has been whipped up by people focused on isolated individual pricing of livestock.
For example, reading some of the social media commentary generated by the $400 breeders at Dubbo, some keyboard warriors were suggesting all breeding cows are now worth only $400. That's simply not correct.
Certainly, the cattle market has had a steep correction when compared with prices this time last year, but it's incorrect and counterproductive to suggest there's little hope for the future of cattle production.
Long-time cattle trader John Hitchcock raised some good points in the Tamworth Livestock Selling Agents Association market report after this week's prime cattle sale on Monday.
He said the current prices didn't surprise him.
John's bought cattle in every mainland state and territory and, like many, has experienced the highs and lows, including the 1974 slump, and has "crossed a few dry gullies" along the way.
His consignment of bullocks offered at Tamworth "sold as expected but less than hoped for", but he said he's seen market fluctuations before.
He'd normally have feed at this time of year, but it cut out (about six weeks too early) after recent hot days. Now he's waiting to see what the next few weeks will bring before making his next move.
Like John, there are plenty of cattle producers who've seen the highs and lows of the market and are just getting on with the job of producing the best product they can away from the negative social media commentary.
Well presented and bred cattle will always be in demand and attract a premium in the market regardless of where the average indicator prices sit.
The current prices may be hard for some to swallow, but the market will turn around eventually.
Many a commodity analyst is known to have said "the best cure for high prices is high prices". The same could be said for low prices.
AFTER a career spanning nearly 60 years, Forbes agent Peter Mackay has retired.
Peter started as a stock and station agent at Winchcombe Carson and Company based in his home town of Cooma.
He stayed in Cooma for two years before making the move to Forbes in 1968, still working for Winchcombe Carson. During the next seven years, Winchcombe Carson rose to be the leading prime cattle agency in Forbes.
In 1975, the Mackays moved to Warren, where Peter was appointed to his first branch manager position.
During his time at Warren, he became quite versatile, not only selling livestock, but also being a broker for merchandise, insurance and wool. The branch was later recognised as one of the most profitable for Winchcombe Carson nationally.
Winchcombe Carson merged with rival agency Dalgety in 1979. This created an opportunity for Peter to move back to Forbes, where he took over as branch manager of newly branded Dalgety Winchcombe.
Peter stayed with the company for a further 19 years. During this time, he was heavily involved in the live export trade, where he was tasked with buying sheep suitable for the "boat job".
This led to a highlight of his time at Dalgety Winchcombe when he was selected to be one of four agents from Australia to visit the US, Japan, Argentina and the Middle East.
Dalgety Winchcombe FGC merged with Western-Australia-based Wesfarmers in 1993 to form Wesfarmers Dalgety.
In a changing company environment, Peter saw an opportunity to go out on his own and approached Jack Woodburn to see if he would be interested in joining him as a partner.
So, in 1998, Peter and Jack formed Mackay and Woodburn, which would act as a rebate agent for Forbes Livestock and Agency Company, which was then owned by Bill Dunn and Peter's son, Tim. Peter stayed working alongside Forbes Livestock and Agency Company for 25 years until his recent retirement.
During his 57-year career, Peter built a loyal client following who respected and trusted his judgement and ability to sell their livestock.
He became a friend to his older clients and a mentor to their children, many of whom Forbes Livestock continues to service today. Peter has said that one of the best parts of his career is that he got to work alongside his son, Tim, and his grandsons, Sam and Hughie.
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