The north Queensland floods haven’t drastically affected the cattle market in Gunnedah yet, but many are expecting the situation to hit local farmers and beef consumers in coming months.
The drought in this region meant almost 4000 cattle went under the hammer on Tuesday at the Gunnedah saleyards, as producers continued to offload.
Our neighbours in the tropics don’t have the privilege of selling healthy cattle, as an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 head of cattle have been lost in the devastating floods.
And nor will they be in a position to buy, according to Ray White Korff and Co’s Danny White, who said he didn’t think the flooding would have an immediate impact on the market.
“There’s many cows and young calves [at the saleyard],” Mr White said.
“It’ll be some time before they’ll be in the position up there to purchase, so I’d say it’ll be another few months before we see a result from that. I don’t think you’ll see any price changes in butchers’ shops or anywhere like that.”
However, Breeza farmer Chris Gaynor disagreed.
He said cattle prices had reduced due to the drought causing oversupply at sales and, because of this, beef prices would “go through the roof”.
“Prices have gone down a bit: another 10-15 cents this week,” Mr Gaynor said.
“But there’s a lot more stock in, too, of course.”
Tamworth Livestock Selling Agents Association president Chris Paterson said the cattle lost in north Queensland was certain to hit local markets in the coming months.
“Farmers just won’t carry numbers through winter because of the dry – it is just not economical to feed anymore,” Mr Paterson said.
“The market is just holding together, although numbers are way down – we only have 30-40 per cent of the local cattle numbers that we would normally have.”