HOPES are high this week’s rain event will create some urgently needed agistment opportunities for producers in western areas of Queensland and NSW, many of whom are enduring a sixth failed summer wet season in a row.
There is little or no agistment available at all throughout the region after another summer of below average rainfall (see map)
Where there is grass – in patches from Roma and St George east to the Darling Downs for example – producers are generally tending to take advantage of the softer prices of recent months to buy cattle for themselves, rather than take on agistment stock.
This restocker demand has helped to find homes for the exodus of stock flowing out of dry western Queensland over the past month, Grant Daniel Long principal Peter Daniel said.
“If it hadn’t have rained two to three weeks ago, and we hadn’t had that bit of rain just after Christmas to get things going, those western cattle would have had no where to go and it would have been disastrous,” he said.
“We’re fortunate enough that we had a bit of rain on the Downs where the cattle are still selling quite well because we can find homes for them at the moment.”
Longreach stock agent Richard Simpson said where producers could they had been turning cattle off into feedlots, or saleyards such as Roma where they were too light.
The emptying out of properties in the past few months had represented the ‘last hurrah’ for several properties, which were now fully destocked after a sixth failed summer wet season in a row.
Paddocks are now back to bare dirt, he said, and those still carrying stock are desperately searching for agistment.
“Financially it is very tight, but mentally even tighter,” Mr Simson said of the plight of producers in the region. “They are tough people but some of them have really had enough now.”
Mr Simson said he could place 4000 cattle on agistment tomorrow if there were properties to take them.
The situation further south in the Channel Country is largely the same.
Mr Daniel said Windorah had not had a decent flood for seven years. Little rain and poor channel flows had reduced feed and stock water reserves to precarious levels.
Some channel country properties have been working through the heat of recent weeks to send as many cattle away to saleyards while the opportunity existed.
‘They’re not cattle they necessarily wanted to sell, but while they’re still worth a few dollars and strong enough to travel and present well in the market, it was either go now, or don’t go at all,” Mr Daniel explained.
Overnight rain boosts hopes
While rain forecast for the rest of this week may not necessarily provide relief in the west where it is most desperately needed, it may create restocker demand, and in time agistment options, where it is falling.
Overnight there have been falls over 25mm recorded from Toowoomba west to Roma, and north through Taroom and Wandoan and well into Central and Northern Queensland.
“If everyone gets another good does of this change, and it could hang around to Saturday or Sunday, it will liven things up,” Mr Daniel said.
He predicts there is still one more wave of cattle yet to come out of western Queensland when temperatues cool down.
“From that first week of March if it is cool enough to go mustering there will probably be another run for two to three weeks, and then we mightn’t see many for a while.”
Channel Country bullocks ‘just not there this year’
Asked if he expected to see many bullocks come out of the channel country this year, Mr Daniel said they just weren’t there this year.
“What bullocks were out there would have been sold last year, and most have been sold as feeder steers for the last three years now.”
Markets firm on rain
As Beef Central’s daily news email was being sent out this afternoon prices at the 10,000 head Roma store sale were firm to a dearer on the strength of the overnight rain.
Dalby had been scheduled to yard 6000 head tomorrow but will be back to 3500 due to the overnight rain.
Need agistment? Or have agistment to offer? List on Beef Central’s daily email at no cost
In order to help producers find agistment, from today Beef Central will offer a free agistment listing service on its daily news emails (click here to register if you don’t currently recieve our free daily emails) for producers to advertise stock needing agistment, or those with agistment to offer.
To list your cattle or agistment, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word agistment in the subject line, and details about the number and type of cattle needing agistment, where they are located and your contact name (first name only is fine) and number. For agistment on offer, list the area in which you have agistment available, the number of cattle you can agist and your first name and contact number.
First agistment listing today:
Agistment wanted for 400 cows and calves
Current location is 40km south of Hughenden.
Will go anywhere feed is available.
Cattle are good to handle.
Luke Woods 0458 007 208