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TAS Country : January 10th 2013
Friday, January 11, 2013 Tasmanian Country 13 The Stock Report Tough times for beef producers CHEWS theFAT David Byard 'We know some producers under financial duress have worked terribly hard and should be looked after, perhaps not by subsidies but by the Government creating confidence, and at least spending money in Australia and not with the people that buy our beef AUSTRALIA is a big country with a reasonably large herd of cattle, about half of which lives in Queensland. Australia's herd is a bit different from others around the world in that we have a unhealthy reliance on exports. Australian beef producers have been having hard times in recent years, with a series of factors affect- ing the producers' bottom line. Problems including the rising Australian dollar, the Indonesian live exports debacle, abnormal weather events, increased red tape, green tape, supermarket domination, and cost of production increases have led to prices flatlining over the past two decades. A report by the North Australia Beef Research Council suggests that most northern beef producers have lost money over the past 10 years. This is partly due to debt levels of $1 million per property. This debt has increased by 17.2 per cent in the past two years. This is not painting a particularly pretty picture, but we still have some people singing from the rooftops that all is well. Toyota has a chart that paints an interesting picture, using real examp- les to show how far our beef pro- ducers have fallen behind. In 1970, 19 bullocks brought in enough money to buy a LandCruiser. Last year, it would have taken 60 bullocks to buy the same wagon. This is just one small example of how farm inputs have increased well past the income side of the equation. We also need to remember the same goes for wages, fuel, fertiliser, elec- tricity, rates, chemicals, cartage. . . and the list goes on. As all farmers know, returns have not kept pace with costs. We have little control over the Australian dollar, but at present the dollar is killing our exports. Aust- ralian beef is sold in US dollars and we are at a 30 per cent disadvantage in some cases. This doesn't mean there aren't producers beating the odds. But things are very tight, and this trend has been evident for the past 30 years, with no indication it will change. It is interesting to extrapolate the figures from the farm gate to a larger base, like a state. In 2005, the gross value of Queens- land's agricultural debt was equal to the gross value of agricultural pro- duction. But in 2012, the debt level was 50 per cent higher than the value of production. This is a huge increase in debt load in seven years. One question to ask is what would the board of a listed company do if faced with the same figures? What is the Australian Govern- ment doing to help our producers? Very little, but at the same time the Australian Government can find $20 million to help Indonesia grow its beef herd and become self-sufficient. Australians all talk about being sustainable, being aware of climate change, and looking after our forests, but one could be excused for wonder- ing if this policy of expanding Indon- esia's cattle herd involves knocking down jungle to grow grass for cattle production, and if this is indeed the case, will we or the Indonesians be paying a carbon tax? With this in mind, the old saying that ''charity begins at home'' should be used. We know some producers under financial duress have worked terribly hard and should be looked after, perhaps not by subsidies but by the Government creating confidence, and at least spending money in Australia and not with those people who are buying our beef. Much of our policy settings seem unfair to me --- imagine paying interest on $1 million plus and watching your asset base decline because of our fluctuating dollar and some of the most expensive process- ing costs in the world. As farmers, we all produce busi- ness plans and yearly budgets. Then farmers find, through no fault of their own, cattle prices have dropped, by 20 per cent, markets have collapsed, or other input prices have gone up because of a calamity on world financial markets. These are all issues the farmer cannot control. These people are not the sort of people we see waiting for handouts. In fact, they would be some the most resilient people in the world. They have dealt with society's demands, as well as fires, drought, floods -- and now this. Meat and Livestock Australia says the only way forward is productivity gains. But this can only go so far and sooner or later cost will again over- take production gains. This year, beef prices are forecast to slide downwards. The MLA talks of increase in sales to Asia driven by population increases, but MLA for- gets there are many other countries that produce beef, and will, or are, attempting to sell beef into Asia. Farmers have some right to be annoyed with the MLA. Not only do they see terms of trade diminishing, costs rising, and losing markets, but this is happening in a time when producer levies went from $3.50 to $5 per head of cattle sold to ensure that Australia keeps its markets. One can only say this has been a spectacular failure. The domestic market in Aust- ralia is our most valuable mar- ket, but it is losing ground to chicken and pork at an alarming rate. One of the biggest problems producers continually complain of when buying beef is inconsist- ency: One minute it is tough, next it is brilliant. In recognition of this, the MLA brought in MSA, a grading sys- tem based on great science, that worked, but was brought to its knees by the greed of retailers and processors. If our main market is the domestic market surely we should be looking after it. We all know it is bad experiences that turn people away for good. You would think that after all these years we would be able to present to consumers guaran- teed consistent eating quality. In Tasmania there are people who believe that the problems of the north have nothing to do with Tasmanian product. Processors are selling Tasman- ian brands interstate at a pre- mium. But supermarkets source a small amount of local product, then import large tonnages of boxed primals from the main- land. This links the Tasmanian producers' price to what is hap- pening in other states. It is time Australian farmers steeled up, and began to discuss and put in place a system that would allow us to get a better deal financially, and the con- sumer to get a better eating experience. Sadly those who are meant to be looking after our interests are not doing a particularly good job. We all deserve better. David Byard is chief execu- tive officer of the Australian Beef Association. KILLAFADDY MARKET REPORT Weekly Cattle report for Killafaddy sale (08/01/13) Fat C\kg Live wgt price C\kg carcase wgt price $\head price Liveweight Muscle Min Max Av Pr Chng Min Max Av Min Max Av VEALER STEERS 330+kgRS C3 165.0 176.0 172.6 N/Q 639 760 677 VEALER HEIFERS 330+kg C3 170.0 181.0 178.0 N/Q 304 312 310 655 697 678 Y'RLING HEIFER 0-330 kg C3 160.0 162.0 160.3 N/Q 308 314 310 488 535 508 400+kg C3 170.0 175.0 171.7 2 321 324 322 735 743 740 COWS 520+kg D3 115.0 120.0 117.3 N/Q 229 231 230 684 766 739 Weekly Sheep report for Killafaddy sale (08/01/13) Fat $ per head Carcase wgt price (c\kg) Skin price Dress weight score Range Ave Change Range Ave Change Range YOUNG LAMB S12-16 kg 2 47.00-57.00 52.30 -2.00 290-345 315 -11 6.00-9.00 16-18 kg 3 61.00-66.00 63.10 -1.00 306-320 312 -22 9.00-10.00 20-22 kg 3 78.00-96.00 89.70 4.00 332-415 377 4 8.00-11.00 22-24 kg 4 95.00-104.00 99.20 8.00 370-402 386 36 10.00-12.00 24-26 kg 4 105.00-116.00 112.10 N/Q 380-425 409 N/Q 10.00-12.00 EWES 18-24 kg 3 34.00-39.00 37.00 N/Q 138-181 151 N/Q 2.00-5.00 24+kg 4 31.00-37.00 33.10 N/Q 122-128 124 N/Q 1.00-5.00 KILLAFADDY DRESSED WEIGHT PRICES This week Last week Last month Last year Vealers 310 n/q n/q 390 Yearlings 315 320 280 372 Bullocks n/q 270 250 355 Cows 230 n/q 190 296 Lambs 377 373 341 512 Prices are in c/kg dressed weight for fat score 3 livestock Bullocks a bonanza for Hughes family Quoiba COMPETITION from both exporters was very solid at the annual Bullock Bon- anza at Quoiba on Wednesday. A total of 132 bullocks were on offer. There was also good in- terest from local butchers for lighter bullocks. Most heavyweights over 650kg sold from 160c/kg to 175c/kg, bullocks under that weight fetched 174c/kg to a top of 186c/kg. First prize was awarded to the Hughes family of Kindred with four Angus bullocks, averaging 753kg at 170c/kg or $1280 per head. Second place went to the McDermott family, farm- ing at North Motton, for four Limousin Hereford cross bullocks averaging 634kg at 180c/kg or $1141 each. Vealers topped in both sections of the trade cattle yarding, steers to 208c/kg while the heifer portion cleared to a top of 204c/kg. Cows met a stronger demand with very good Friesians realising 141c/kg, while beef cows made 122c/kg. BULLOCKS: VF Holdings, 186c/kg-$1090; TW & MH & PJ McDermott, 180c/kg- $1142; GJ Barnes, 180c/kg- $1095. HEAVY TRADE STEERS: C & T Cooper, 187c/kg-$920; Lohrey Pastoral, 184c/kg- $953; Richards & Rouse, 183c/kg-$940. TRADE STEERS: VC&KA Howe, 187c/kg-$826; DW & HE Bowkett, 184c/kg-$816. STEER VEALERS: R&JA Tuson, 208c/kg-$873; SG Bar- ber, 205c/kg-$750; 205c/kg- $910. HEAVY HEIFERS: SW Rad- ford, 180c/kg-$849; LA & LD Howard, 174c/kg-$849; P McGee, 173c/kg-$878. TRADE HEIFERS: Noo- kvale Angus, 204c/kg-$775; VC & KA Howe, 200c/kg-$716; Allenfields, 200c/kg-$724. HEIFER VEALERS: SG Barber, 205c/kg-$762; CM Duff, 199c/kg-$823; R & JA Tuson, 190c/kg-$687. COWS: P & R Jedyn, 141c/kg-$1051; AJ Carter, 122c/kg-$843; JA & JM Frankcombe, 120c/kg-$717. BULLS: RD & WL Padman, 128c/kg-$947; JW Nozolek, 115c/kg-$1177; P & R Jedyn, 110c/kg-$1056. ROBERTS WOOL REPORT AWEX MPG Summary January 9, 2013 Current Change 12 mths ago 3-year av EMI 1102 30 1216 1083 17 1442 31 1694 nq 18 1344 36 1553 1473 18.5 1328 42 1495 1390 19 1317 44 1465 1306 19.5 1302 56 1431 1232 20 1261 57 1389 1171 21 1229 35 1299 1140 22 1204 44 1237 1103 23 1181 41 1101 1058 24 1058 42 1073 968 25 900 15 0 847 26 807 13 769 747 28 603 15 612 565 30 565 15 547 509 MC 703 12 696 668
January 3rd 2013
January 17th 2013