Since the beginning of 2014, most ingredients for Australian lot feeders have increased considerably, particularly fodder and quality feeder cattle.
As reported by the Australian Fodder Institute of Australia (AFIA), on behalf of Dairy Australia, fodder prices have risen considerably in the Darling Downs over the past eight weeks. Cereal fodder, for example, has risen 58% over the period, averaging $435/tonne, Lucerne has increased 67%, to $525/tonne, while straw is up 32%, at $225/tonne. Similarly, in the Central West of NSW, cereal fodder is 24% higher, at $280/tonne, as the drought conditions continue to place heavy pressure on supplies.
Feed grain prices have also continued strengthening since the beginning of 2014, on top of what were already reasonably strong prices, with feed wheat increasing 3%, to $313/tonne, while feed barley ($308/tonne) and feed oats ($275/tonne) have each increased 12% over the period.
Similarly, capping off the inputs for lot feeders, trade steer (330-400kg C3) prices have recovered 11% since the beginning of January, averaging 183¢/kg lwt in the first week of March.
While cattle prices have increased, they remain significantly lower than during 2012, however, as quality supplies continue to dwindle, and on top of high feed costs, numbers on feed could start declining over the coming months.
Source: Meat & Livestock Australia