Cattle prices sky-rocket for Gympie farmers

RECORD breaking prices for cattle sales continue unabated across Queensland, and Gympie farmers also continue to reap the rewards of prices that have tripled in less than two years.

Sullivan Livestock and Rural Services agent and cattle sales auctioneer Dan Sullivan said the prices currently being enjoyed in the industry represent a staggering increase in a short period of time.

"You go back 18 months and it would be a good triple (increase in price)," Mr Sullivan said.

"The last couple of sales we yarded 2200 to 2300 cattle and it was reflected in the prices.

"We've had good heavy feed of steers make up to $3.65/kg last sale, and that is equivalent to the lead steers coming back at $1800."

The lofty prices are not restricted to steer and cattle auctions either, with attendees at today's pig and calf sale also being met with prices about $40-50 per head more for calves.

Industry experts attribute the sky-rocketing prices to a livestock shortage, caused by a combination of live export restrictions and the drought, which saw prices bottom out and caused Australian farmers to retain their herds due to oversupply.

Now with the recent rains in several farming areas, there is an under-supply of cattle available to purchasers.

According to Gympie lawyer and Goomeri charbray stud breeder Michael Connolly, record prices represent a great opportunity for producers in the industry and the wider community.

"It finally allows cattle producers to potentially make a profit from their operations," Mr Connolly said.

"And if cattle producers are making a profit from their operations they usually spend their money back on the property, and that means there's more money within the local economy."

Having been in the industry in one form or another since 1978, Mr Connolly said the current prices were the best he had seen in more than 30 years.

Gympie sale yards recent auction.
Gympie sale yards recent auction. Renee Albrecht

While he expects the prices to hold for another two years while the supply catches back up with demand, he hoped that farmers currently enjoying the revenue influx would be mindful of when the cycle eventually came back to normal.

"Make hay while the sun shines but be prepared to put it in the shed for the bad times," he said.

The impact was felt by attendees at yesterday's calf sale, with retired Howard farmer Ray Carpenter falling way short of his intended goal for the day.

Hoping to be driving back north with ten new calves, the price increase saw him snag only three at auction.

He had come down to Gympie because he'd already been priced out of the auctions at Biggenden last week.

"They're at least $50 a head dearer around," he said.

"It's the dearest I've ever seen them."

There are hundreds of cattle available for purchase at the Liveweight Store sale being held next Monday at the Gympie saleyards.

The store sale starts at 11am.

Gympie Times

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