Stock prices surge

TASMANIAN livestock prices continue to break records as producers and processors scramble to secure stock.

It may be winter but stock prices across Tasmania have not showed any signs of cooling off with demand continuing to outstrip supply.

Livestock agents say cattle prices remain at unprecedented levels and there is also strong demand for lambs.

Noel Hardstaff from Ray White Livestock at Devonport said the current market was being driven by low numbers.

“It all comes back to supply and demand,” he said.
“There’s an absolute shortage of cattle. They’re the dearest I’ve ever seen them.”

At the Smithton saleyard on Monday, a small number of heifers ready for processing attracted strong competition and topped at $2050 per head.

Mr Hardstaff said all types of cattle were sought after and dairy-cross bucket-reared calves made as much as $880 per head.

“The thing is the grass hasn’t even started growing yet, wait until spring hits and it starts growing,” he said.
“It’s certainly interesting times.”

Nutrien state livestock lead Drew Skinner said a lack of numbers was helping to drive up prices in local saleyards.

“We have had minimal numbers which isn’t unusual for this time of the year and there’s obviously high demand,” he said. “Certainly, the saleyard prices at the moment for lambs are going extremely well and it’s similar with the cattle.”

Mr Skinner said low numbers mean producers were trying to buy stock whenever they are available.

“There’s people chasing them all the time at the moment,” he said.

With new season’s lambs now hitting major saleyards on the mainland, Mr Skinner said it would be interesting to see where the market heads.

“On the lamb front we’re seeing some bigger numbers coming into saleyards over there as more of the new suckers come into the market, but producers are getting rewarded for what they’re presenting,” he said.

“The demand at the moment is coming from everywhere and the demand for the product out the other end must be going well too.”

Elders’ state livestock manager Greg Harris said with so many producers looking to secure stock, prices for stores are outstripping those for finished cattle.

“In the normal weekly sales, the fat stock prices are lower than the store prices, which is pretty much unheard of,” Mr Harris said. “The cattle job, without a doubt, is as good as we’ve ever seen it.”

After widespread rain across large parts of the state, many producers are looking to buy now before the spring flush.

“Everyone’s just worried they are not going to be able to find them in the spring,” Mr Harris said.
“If you look back over the last five years that’s what’s been happening.

August and September seem to be the busy time but everyone’s just chasing stock wherever they can get them at the moment.”

After good rain through much of the eastern seaboard, Mr Harris said the demand for stock looked unlikely to ease up anytime soon.

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