INVESTMENT in the cattle industry has paid off for many Western Australian producers, according to Landmark State livestock manager Leon Giglia.
With the uptake of new technologies and genetic data recording, cattle producers have been able to improve their herds and capitalise on the global demand for quality beef, whether live or boxed.
This has caused the Landmark team to “do nothing but talk up the industry” which is continuing to grow and develop.
“Over the past three years we have seen positive prices for cattle,” Mr Giglia said.
“The global price of beef is at 620c/kg US (857c/kg AU), and it is continually improving.
“The inquiry for red meat in a box or on a boat shows it is in high demand.
“We can claim that as evidence to producers that the market is here to stay.”
Mr Giglia said while a large number of producers were aware of that demand and had invested in technology to see greater on-farm efficiencies and profits, there was “still a little bit of trepidation that the market can fall as quickly as it rises”.
“I think we’ll see some fluctuation but cattle pricing is as it should be within its 46-48 month cycle,” he said.
“October has been proposed as the end point of the last real cycle.”
Mr Giglia said there were positive signs for the industry with the slaughter numbers having “risen to levels not seen since the 2015 drought”.
“The percentage of females slaughtered is currently at an all time high,” he said.
“The national herd is at the lowest level on record.
“There are record low numbers right across Australia.”
That means sustained pricing for the foreseeable future while numbers remain low and demand high.
Mr Giglia said there had been little to no speculation in the market to put cattle away due to seasonal conditions however restockers and feedlotters were now “entering the marketplace”.
“All the things that underpin the WA market are coming together,” he said.
“Cow/calf producers are being rewarded with returns.
“The eight to nine-month-old calves are seeing good return considering the outlay and the ongoing costs.
“Our finished cattle market is really strengthening.
“The store market is still yet to match the increase that finished cattle have seen in the past three to four weeks.”
Mr Giglia said parts of the Great Southern “didn’t have a fantastic season” as a large number of cattle from Manypeaks to Munglinup were moved out early.
“They will restock but probably wait for the break,” he said.
There has also been a lot of movement in the non-traditional export of slaughter cattle, with boats coming to the southern part of the State, including Geraldton and Fremantle.
“The increase of cattle bound for offshore markets through live exports has created additional competition in the market,” Mr Giglia said.
He said exporters would be active for months ahead with small consignments into South-East Asia and the Philippines, as well as continual supply into China.
“The demand for boxed, chilled or live export of beef is very strong,” Mr Giglia said.
“Producers can be confident in investing in breeders.
“We are witnessing those that have re-invested into breeding herds seeing positive returns.
“With the amount of data available people are measuring like never before and with that they are seeing greater efficiencies, which leads to greater returns.”
Landmark’s outlook for the WA beef industry is positive and strong.