Northern cattle prices hit a peak

LIVE export prices in the north have reached unprecedented levels putting smiles on the faces of pastoralists.

Heavy steers are fetching up to $2.30 and heifers up to $2.10, significantly different from the prices this time last year.

Landmark Broome agent Andrew Stewart said it was fantastic news for pastoralists.

“I have been an agent up here for more than 10 years and I have never seen prices as high or as consistent as what it is now,” he said.

“Slaughter cattle are making record prices, I think this year clients are not just going to be able to pay off interest but they will also make a dent in their principle as well.

“It is good for everyone.”

Mr Stewart said it had been a tough five years in the live export industry but things were starting to look up.

“We are on the front pages for the right reasons,” he said.

Mr Stewart put the sustained price rally down to increased demand coming from Indonesia and other markets such as Malaysia, Vietnam and South East Asia.

“It is a combination of a number of things, we aren’t so focused on one market anymore which is a huge positive,” he said.

“The only thing playing against us is that the dollar is creeping up a bit, but aside from that it is good to have some positive news in the north.”

Glen Dellar, Maroonah station, said the positive movements in the live export prices were well overdue.

Mr Dellar said the market was a lot stronger in comparison to last year which gave pastoralists back some of their confidence.

“We have come from a long way behind, so it is certainly a lot better than it was,” he said.

“We haven’t sold anything yet but the season has dictated that we will need to move sooner rather than later and the cattle are right to go now.

“So we will be able to capitalise and take advantage of the market.”

Mr Dellar said the strong market had prompted him to consider forward contracting cattle.

“Normally I am a bit wary of forward contracting but we are prepared to do that now with the sort of money we are talking,” he said.

“It has put some well overdue confidence back in the market.

“It is pleasing things are going in the right direction, the trick is for that to hold and for cost structures to stay the same.

“There seems to be more and more markets opening up and it is good to see the government assisting us, rather than hindering us.”

Kimberley pastoralist Peter Camp, Kalyeeda station, said prices at the moment were better than he had ever seen them.

“There are no orders out yet for the third quarter and we could see a dip then but the way I see it, and in talking to a few agents, the demand is still there to keep the prices up,” Mr Camp said.

“We have never seen prices like this before.

“They are becoming demand driven and the number of cattle going into Indonesia has helped, they need the cattle and they are willing to pay for them.”

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