For what has been the most brutal of droughts there should be optimism for the cattle cycle that lies before us.

The market is on the cusp of a significant adjustment higher, which is supported by international pricing and demand while being underpinned by the female kill topping 58% of total kill numbers in recent months. The herd has reached critical re-build levels and despite the drought not breaking in all areas we are already seeing the beginning of the upward price swing which will dominate the cattle market for the coming years.

As the national herd has dropped to the lowest in 30 years we will see increased competition from re-stockers, backgrounders, feedlotters and processors for reduced cattle offerings. In the last year we have seen China emerge as the market price setter and the largest beef consumer in the world. Beef prices have drifted higher and will continue to support strong cattle prices as further demand from middle class Asia and reduced alternate protein supplies due to the effects of African Swine Fever continue to filter through the markets.

In recent weeks we have seen cow prices increase and similar to the rebound in mid 2014 it has happened prior to widespread rain and a clear break from the drought. Already cow prices in Victoria are up some 25% with NSW and Queensland lagging but still following the trend higher the trend higher.

Our own beef and lamb export business has continued to grow throughout the year. KC Natural has now processed and marketed some 250K lambs. On the beef front we have continued with the 150 day Grain Fed HGP free program through Cassino in northern NSW. Although a great deal of our beef still goes into China we are now also exporting to Taiwan, the Middle East and the USA.

The Mount feedlot, which we manage, has been at its new capacity of 5,000 head for the last few quarters as drought has pushed cattle in our direction. The ration has remained challenged on the back of limited supply of roughage and grains. We are approaching an interesting juncture with supply looking short if dry conditions persist, but the optimism of a Spring could bring reduced commodity prices.

In the preparation of our sale bulls I have reflected on two things that separate our bulls from others in the breed.

Firstly, each bull is given a full veterinary-supervised serving ability test. This a demanding and time-consuming process but critical for determining each bull’s ability to serve.

Secondly, we focus on making these cattle true to type by not supplementary feeding. At no time during their life have these bulls been fed anything other than grass or grazing crop.

We continue our focus on high performing cattle and the sale features:

  • 40 bulls below breed average for birth weight
  • 55 bulls above breed average and 34 in top 25% for 400 day growth
  • 40 bulls above breed average and 24 in top 25% for EMA
  • 57 bulls above breed average and 39 in top 25% for IMF
  • 57 bulls above breed average and 40 in top 25 for CWT

If you would like to inspect the cattle before the sale please contact me. The bulls were videoed on 30 July. The short videos are available through our website along with links to relevant information on the Angus Australia website.We do hope that you can join us for the sale.

Sam Burton Taylor,

Kenny’s Creek Angus

August 2019

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