News from Rockhampton, China and Boorowa
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MAY MARKET REPORT

I am only going to just get this in for May. It has been an interesting month with a couple of weeks on the road first with Beef Week and then with the Shanghai food show SIAL.
In the markets feeder cattle prices are still strong if they are in the slot and kill cattle again strong for anything with condition. For almost anything else it seems like tough going.
From the feedlotting side at The Mount we are under pressure on commodity prices and it is getting harder to find the right cattle among the large numbers being presented at sale yards (please contact us if you are interested in selling steers 380-450kgs). Due to the shortage of hay we have gone back into our silage which we last used in the winter floods of 2016.
This week in Boorowa we have been lucky to get 14mm of rain but the weather has come in cold now and we are looking at a couple of big frosts in the next two days. Pastures are still growing and we are seeing our grazing crops start to come on for their first graze.
It does not seem it but in the area we have received average rainfall for the month of May.

Kenny's Creek Spring Bulls walking on to grazing oats at Hillgrove last week. Took a while to get the first feed this year...
Drought ration - pea silage is into the feeding ration at The Mount Forbes along with wheat/barley/hay/cotton seed.
The Vegan Wars
"Murder, rape and family separation" is the pitch from animal activists (or Vegan Extremists) on the growing tide of people turning to Veganism. Datelines 30m piece which aired on SBS Dateline on Tuesday night is worth the watch. Australia is the third fastest Vegan market in the world. Click here to watch.
 
Over 1 million head on feed
  • Feedlot margins have shrunk on back of rising input prices (grain) despite increases in over the hook pricing.
  • Feeder prices are at a premium to other young cattle
  • Not expected that grain fed cattle prices will gain much more traction with high numbers on feed. Reasonable chance grass fed prices will catch the grain fed job

Source: Mecardo, MLA

The EYCI, drought and USA price correlation
  • The average low for the EYCI across last three droughts is 275c/kg cw from a high of 420c/kg representing a fall of 35%
  • Since Oct 2016 when EYCI was at 725 c/kg we have already seen a price correction of 35%
  • The strong correlation between the US Live Cattle Cycle and EYCI continues and if it maintains the mirror trend the EYCI will be 400c/kg in Oct this year.

Source: Simon Quilty (simon.quilty@bigpond.com)

New Zealand to kill 150,000 cows to end bacterial disease

  • Mycoplasma bovis has infected part of the NZ cattle herd. Found in the USA and EU the disease can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases.
  • The disease is not a concern for food safety but does affect productivity.
  • The NZ govt is expected to cover about 2/3 of the costs with farmers and industry picking up the balance
  • Officials are still trying to determine how the disease go into the country despite tight bio-security.
Source: AFR, 29 May 2018

Live export deaths reopen debate
  • 60 Minutes coverage of cruel on board conditions on vessels bound for the Middle East has prompted renewed calls for banning live export from Animals Australia and RSPCA
  • Minister for Agriculture has indicated he would not support another suspension of live trade. 

     Source: ABC Online
 

Blockchain:opportunities for beef
  • There are growing opportunities for blockchain technology in the beef industry, particularly in improving efficiency and security in the supply chain. 
  • Blockchain is a digital technology platform that stores transaction data between users. Transactions (blocks) are stored on a digital ledger, which is accessible from a network of computers, making it difficult to tamper with the data chain.
  • Blockchain enables products to be traced through the supply chain, and allows for verification of transactions along the way – meaning it can protect against food fraud. Food companies are implementing blockchain enabled traceability solutions to give customers confidence that they are buying safe, reliable products. 
  • There is also speculation that the technology could play a role in improving live export reporting. 

Source: Beef Central, 3 April 2018

 

Map
Map

BEEF WEEK - ROCKHAMPTON
  • Beef Week is held every three years at Rockhampton. Well worth the trip if you have not done it before. The show is a mix of processors, cattle companies, suppliers, seminars and the occasional beer.
  • The Beetoota Advocate wrote an excellent article on why some check their family tree before they go to 'Bonk Week'. Beetoota Advocate
Above: the main ring at Beef Week. Below: smoked beef was there in a big way with three caterers getting a lot of business for smoked ribs, brisket and Brahman hump
Tim Fisher launching the EShepard at Beef Week which (for somewhere in the vicinity of $150+ per unit and a 6 year life) gives you remote fencing for your cattle. The EShepard is a collar which charges using solar panels and uses stimulation and audio cues to train cattle.

FROM CHINA

SIAL- Shanghai
  • SIAL is the annual tradeshow and the show that MLA exhibits at in China each year. This was our fifth year of exhibiting and there was a noticeable difference in intensity compared with the hysteria of four/five years ago. Chinese beef interests are now well diversified with South America getting a lot of the attention.
  • Grass fed imports are big into China but mostly coming from South American countries. Australia has had a big start to the year.
  • US beef, despite the hype, has got little penetration in the market. Pricing is not competitive and then lump onto it taxes and tariffs of 32% and you can understand how they are struggling to get a foothold in the market. The USA only had a small presence at the show.
  • Legally less than 300t has come into China from the USA.This is less than 1% of Australian beef imports to China. Large amounts are still coming through the grey channel.
  • Within the Australian exporting community there is widespread concern about Australian/Chinese diplomatic relations. This was highlighted in few articles run by the AFR in recent weeks about Julie Bishops failing relationship where she was described as being 'profoundly ignorant'.
The 23kgs of beef that I thought I would get through Chinese customs on the way to SIAL tradeshow.
In China beside your Hotel bed you get Xi Jinping instead of a Bible
KC stand at SIAL with Eva who is based in Shanghai and Will originally from Shanghai but now Boorowa.

NAB - BEEF IN FOCUS

Increases in US beef production will affect Australian markets like Japan and Korea. Low cost producers from South America will compound this
The dry start to 2018 has seen an uptick in the female slaughter

Source – NAB, In Focus: Beef. May 2018
 

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