Returning confidence in Australia’s cattle lot feeding industry was reflected in the strong rise in registrations for this year’s BeefEx conference.
Almost 500 delegates representing all Australian states have registered to attend the feedlot industry’s major showcase event, which is organised and hosted by the Australian Lotfeeders Association (ALFA) every two years.
ALFA president Don Mackay said confidence levels among lot feeders were improving based on the enormous strength of demand for beef that is now evident.
“I think the number of delegates here reflects that it is not those really tough times that were being endured previously,” Mr Mackay told Beef Central.
“We’ve had a couple of years of highish grain prices, but we’ve seen some lower feeder steer prices which has been very useful for a lot of feedlots.
“But overriding that is that we have this enormous strength in demand for beef.”
Mr Mackay said many lot feeders were again reinvesting in their operations after a subdued run of years. In his own case, Rangers Valley is investing $6 million in feedmill upgrades and feedlot expansions.
Feedlotting was ‘pretty simple’, he said: “It is the price of meat out and the price of cattle in and the price of the feed in.
“If you have got two of them on your side you make money.
“They’re not making a lot of money, but the level of demand is such that even if they’re lot feeding themselves, or those that are in custom feeding, there is huge demand for places in a feed yard.”
One of the big challenges for feedlots looking ahead was cattle availability and how it will affect the input price of cattle going forward.
However, from a feedlot’s point of the view, input prices were not essential as long as output prices were also high.
“And to be fair the production sector need to get more for their cattle,” Mr Mackay said.
“I don’t think anyone would be against that, we’ve all got to make money.”
The first day of the BeefEx conference at Royal Pines on Wednesday featured addresses from global marking consultant David Thomas, NAB Regional Head of Food and Agribusiness based in Hong Kong Patrick Vizzone, Iron ore magnate and WA cattl producer and beef processor Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest and Australian Farm Institute executive director Mick Keogh.