Cattle sales strong at Emerald market
CATTLE sales in Emerald this year have been little affected by trading shocks, with prices rebounding in spite of the coronavirus and international politics.
Warren Holzwart of WBH Livestock & Property said the market had improved significantly compared with its position three weeks ago.
"The main thing is that people were concerned because of the Chinese not taking product from four plants in Australia," he said in reference to China's suspension of its imports from four Australian abattoirs last week.
"It's quite the opposite," Mr Holzwart said. "The market is actually strengthening. The market here today [Thursday] is getting very close to where it was at its peak prior to COVID-19.
"In Central Queensland here we've got the lean, green product that a lot of people wish they had. Things are looking very positive."
Mr Warren said that because of an extended dry period, many breeders had to sell cows, and therefore numbers were low.
Emerald Land and Cattle Company owner Brock Palmer said the market throughout 2020 had so far been "exciting, challenging, and positive".
He said that despite low herd numbers across the country, recent rain had created "very strong demand for all descriptions of cattle", and supply had been steady at the Emerald saleyards without "excessively large yardings".
The yarding - the number of attending cattle - at the saleyards has increased lately. On May 14, the recorded number rose 800 from the previous week to a total of 2090.
Mr Palmer said nearly 36,000 head of prime and store cattle had been sold at the Emerald saleyards this year.
"The spike in the cattle market in February and early March certainly brought cattle onto the market and strong buyer attendance to the sale, with some record prices reached," he said.
Reports from Meat and Livestock Australia show that in the past three months the price of yearling steers in Emerald dropped 12 per cent, that of cows by 25 per cent, and bulls by 13 per cent - all with fluctuation in between. Nevertheless, the prices are all higher than six months ago, and bulls and steers are now trending upwards.
Mr Palmer said that the coronavirus pandemic initially touched some nerves and dropped prices, but that it did not do lasting damage to the industry.
"When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores it certainly put an element of panic and uncertainty into the cattle market," he said.
"Since then the market has regained strongly some of the lost ground from the sudden impact.
He said low herd numbers were keeping prices at regular levels, since demand had not noticeably changed.
Mr Palmer hoped that sellers could enjoy "better days ahead".
"We all need to stay positive as the market is well and truly healthy at the moment.
"I see the rest of 2020 looking very positive for our Emerald selling centre."