Bill Tatt's Rural Report: Rain is approaching and needed

HUEY'S CHUCKING IT: It came down hard out near White Cliffs during recent storm activity in the Far West. Photo: Leah Bailey
HUEY'S CHUCKING IT: It came down hard out near White Cliffs during recent storm activity in the Far West. Photo: Leah Bailey

As this column is being compiled on Tuesday, February 22 another rain event is approaching east of Binnaway following reports of some reasonable falls across neighbouring districts in recent days.

Many graziers particularly west of Dubbo have expressed a desire for a rain event as much of their grazing country has dried out.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator (EYCI) showed signs of easing this week falling from almost 1200c/kg carcase weight back to a touch above 1100c/kg cwt. One analyst described this downward trend as akin to "falling off a cliff," hardly the words the column would have chosen. Herd rebuilding over the last 18 to 24 months has gathered momentum and this increase supply of livestock will put downward pressure on prices.

It will be a game person indeed who predicts what the market will settle at over the next year or two. There are just too many variables including seasonal conditions, value of the Aussie dollar, world demands for red meat protein, war in Europe, the list goes on. My thoughts are that if prices decline severely many producers will hold back their cattle to gain extra weight.

The MLA has a projection that the Australian beef herd will grow by 1.1 million head this calendar year to exceed 27 million cattle. Slaughter figures are forecast to rise by 11 per cent even taking all these figures into consideration. The world demand for our protein would appear to be almost insatiable at this stage of the marketing cycle.

As tensions continues between Australia and China over beef exports, China has shifted their attention to other areas such as the US and South America to access supply. Argentina because of export controls and Brazil due to cases of BSE have to some extent dropped off the Chinese radar.

The Australian goat industry has been slowly building for years but in recent times has really boomed. Goats were the star performers for the livestock industry in 2021. Whilst on a world stage we produce a fraction of global goat meat, nevertheless, export wise we are major players.

Traditionally the bulk of our exports are destined for the USA (67 per cent). The South Korean market has really expanded taking an extra 97 per cent (almost 1700 tonnes) more than 2020. Taiwan is another important destination increasing demand by 147 per cent in 2021.

The continued growth of the industry and the take-up of best practice within the grazing community combined with limited consumption of goat meat in Australia has seen us supply 36 per cent of the global trade on an export value basis, followed by Ethiopia (32 per cent) and Kenya.