THE Sandalwood feedlot near Dalby on the Darling Downs has been operating at near capacity over the past six months at about 15,500 head.
Sandalwood co-managing director Kevin Roberts said that, although drought had played a part in the increased numbers of stock on feed across Australia in recent months, he believed other significant factors were at play.
"I don't see this as a straight-out drought thing," he said.
"The drought has probably lifted the pace, but it is not the key driver.
"Obviously the world shortage of quality meat is at the base of it.
"The Americans have the smallest cattle herd they've had in probably 100 years.
"And we had a dollar on steroids when it was US105 cents, but now it is US77 cents.
"Even when it got into the US80-cent range, it was a whole lot better than US105c."
Mr Roberts said that, although drought had impacted on crop production and stockfeed supplies, feed grain had been relatively easy to source - "if you are prepared to pay the money".
"Unlike the mid-1990s, there is actually grain about," Mr Roberts said.
"In the mid-1990s we had a genuine shortage of grain.
"Queensland has been a bit short but at least you can buy it, although it is pretty pricey."