WA misses national cattle price rise

25 Sep, 2008 11:45 AM
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EASTERN states' cattle markets registered near record prices last week, rubbing salt into WA beef producers' already deep financial wounds.

The price peak comes with speculation in the industry this week that Harvey Beef has dropped its schedule price by up to 20c/kg. Harvey Beef chief executive officer Michael Rapattoni said the processor was back buying in the saleyards and price was price.

He would not comment any further.

The highest cow price recorded this year in the eastern states' physical markets was the 192.2c/kg liveweight registered at Casino last Wednesday.

This was the highest price paid for cows at this market since September 2001 when a record price of 195.2c/kg lwt was set.

Cow prices surged along the east coast with the Dalby market topping at 190c/kg, 182c at Dubbo, 180c in Shepparton, 185.6c at Toowoomba, and Wagga Wagga's 179c.

All the prices were the highest since 2005, while a top of 184c/kg at Gunnedah was its best since November 2004.

Bull prices also increased significantly, selling to tops of 220c/kg lwt at Wodonga and 229c/kg at Armidale.

These prices were set in a week when numbers sold through the saleyards rose by 15pc.

But the market continues to languish in WA.

Cow prices topped at 112c/kg lwt at Midland last week, while prices were even worse at last Thursday's Mount Barker sale with good cows selling for 80c-95c/kg.

Heavy bulls returned 102c-125c/kg, a little more than half of the prices received in the eastern states.

No one seems to be able to answer why WA cattle prices are so far behind.

What producers do know is that the industry, if it wasn't previously, is now at the crossroads.

Yornup beef producer Michael Campbell said WA's lack of competition is affecting cattle prices.

"Competition is the big thing and unfortunately in WA we suffer from a lack of it in both the processing sector and in the saleyard," he said.

"There is also a backlog of cattle in the system at the moment and while we have that build up prices are not going to go up.

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READER COMMENTS

SW Producer
25/09/2008 12:28:37 PM

It is a discraceful situation, shortsighted processors taking advantage of the lack of selling options available to WA producers. Producers are now leaving the industry in droves due to the lack of returns. Eventually there will be a supply shortage adversely effecting the very same processors. Just as happened with the dairy industry in past years. It's time they opened their eyes and tried to manage a sustainable industry by looking after the producers who provide them with the quality cattle they require to be in business.
producer quit
27/09/2008 8:53:58 PM

i give up. i'm sick of them wiping their feet on us. costs are too high. it's better to go broke fishing than farming. i've gone and got a job, sold the cattle and i'm going to fill the farm with trees. if all beef producers sell their herds and put the proceeds in a term deposit they'll recieve 8% - at the least that beats running stock. i'm sick of these local abattoirs ripping us off. wa beef farmers need to unite and form a decent union and sort these problems out. anyway, i've quit. the butchers won't butcher me any more.

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