THINGS have noticeably tightened for cattle producers in recent months, southern Queensland cattle producer Brian Southern commented to Beef Central while leaning against a catwalk railing watching the Dalby cattle sale yesterday.
Mr Southern had dropped off some old cows from his St George district property Breena Plains to the NH Foods abattoir at Oakey in his body truck the previous afternoon, and had stayed on to check the market in Dalby before heading home yesterday morning.
His red sandy buffel country north west of St George has hayed off with early frosts coming into winter, but the property is still understocked with some extra room to take more cattle if he can find the right article at the right price.
He breeds Santa cows joined to Santa, Hereford, Shorthorn and Angus bulls to produce Santa and Santa cross progeny.
Apart from the heifers that he retains for future breeders, all are sold as weaners, a strategy which enables him to run more breeding cattle.
But with overall numbers back to about three quarters of carrying capacity he was in the market at Dalby yesterday looking for heifers to join to bulls at home and then resell as PTIC females in roughly six months time.
It is definitely more of a buyer’s market, he noted. Weaners over 300kg which were fetching over $2150 per head last year have now fallen to around half that value.
“The market has had a bit of a reality check,” he said.
“While Interest rates were down everyone was confident, now it has all tightened, and all that extra spending has stopped.”
Mr Southern was among a number of local producers who joined to erect clusters of wild dog exclusion fencing a few years ago, which has enabled him to farm goats and dorper sheep as well.
While the market for goats had come back significantly, from around $9 per kilogram carcase weight to around $3.40 to $3.80 depending on quotes, prices for Dorper lambs had not been as badly effected, holding at around $6.40/kg carcase weight.