WITH the wet season about to hit the Kimberley, cattle sales are slowing in the north.
Prices, however, are anything but slow, with some pastoralists saying they are the best they have seen in years.
David Stoate, Anna Plains station, Broome, is still a few weeks off finishing this year's muster and said prices have been better than he has seen the last few years.
"Prices have been high, but they still need to be higher and consistently higher," Mr Stoate said.
"It needs to be consistently higher so we can reinvest into the properties."
As for next year, Mr Stoate said a good indicator is the current record high prices in Darwin.
"One follows the other in terms of price normally," Mr Stoate said.
“The price in Darwin has gone up, since the season ended here in Broome.”
"So, we hope, it will be significantly higher next year (in Broome), because of international demand.
"Also if it rains in Queensland, supply will be reduced, so a shortage of cattle next year could mean higher prices."
According to Mr Stoate, prices for steers and bulls ended at about $2.20 a kilogram in Broome.
Darwin prices have reached $2.45/kg, so Mr Stoate hoped next year's prices would jump up over $2.50/kg.
"We may send some cattle off to Darwin at the end of the year, because the boats have stopped here," Mr Stoate said.
"But it's just the freight cost to get them there, that makes it difficult."
Elders livestock manager for Broome and Derby Kelvin Hancey said although prices have been promising, it had been a tough year for the West Kimberley region due to the lack of rain last wet season, and pastoralists are looking forward to this year's wet.
"The season has already turned," Mr Hancey said.
"It's already hit 40°C in Fitzroy, and it has rained a bit already.
"Seasonally the West Kimberley has done it tougher, but in terms of pricing we have had an excellent year."
Mr Hancey said cattle numbers turned off were up as people were making the most of the good prices.