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Steers hit 260c/kg as supply wanes

Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) export manager Paul Keenan.PRICES as high as 260 cents a kilogram liveweight are being paid for cattle as intense competition from the live export sector and supply concerns heat up WA’s cattle market.

Both Wellard and Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) are currently sourcing cattle to fill boats leaving in the next month, bound for Indonesia, Turkey, Israel and the Middle East.

While neither exporter would confirm they were paying prices as high as 260c/kg, they did admit that they were paying record prices to secure supply.

At the Landmark Boyanup cattle sale earlier this month, a line of 228kg Angus steers hit a top of 260c/kg in an absolutely red hot sale. Long-time Farm Weekly markets reporter Rob Francis said it was the hottest sale he had ever witnessed.

Wellard managing director Steve Meerwald said 260c/kg was not their official price and was above their schedule but the prices they were paying were up there with the highest they had seen.

Mr Meerwald said they were paying the market price, which was favourable as a reflection of the competition in the market place.

“I suspect that there is some manoeuvring being done by a whole range of parties to try to secure supply,” Mr Meerwald said.

“I’ve certainly had no-one come to me and say they need more money.

“There is a relatively strong and competitive market due to the short supply and as we’ve seen before with sheep, there are official prices and unofficial prices.

“While it’s tough to be having to pay these sorts of prices, particularly with the dollar at parity or thereabouts, I think it’s a great story for producers and a confidence builder relative to having multiple outlets and competition for their product.

“It generally indicates the strength of the protein markets around the world and the impact we hope that they’ll have on Australian producers for many years to come, in terms of a consistent demand for quality products from Australia.”

Mr Meerwald said they were loading for a shipment to Indonesia due out at the end of the month, as well as one to Turkey and possibly another bound for the Middle East.

He said they were sourcing bos Indicus heifers and steers under 350kg for Indonesia, feeder and slaughter bos Taurus cattle for Turkey and heavier bos Indicus cattle for the Middle East.

Due to the short supply, Mr Meerwald said they were buying in the Eastern States as well as WA and as a result would be doing split-port loadings.

“What we can get from here, we’ll get from here and what we can’t, we’ll balance that up from the east,” he said.

“Most of the supply for the Turkish shipment will come from the east and we’ll put on here what we can get within our budget.

“We’ll source from on-farm and where appropriate, we’ll get some of the later cattle from the saleyards but they still have to comply with the import country’s protocols so that does provide some challenges with saleyard cattle.”

LSS export manager Paul Keenan said the company was paying record prices to secure cattle for shipments to Turkey and Israel.

“The company is paying record prices but we believe it’s very good for producers and the cattle industry in general,” Mr Keenan said.

“If producers have any cattle under 320kg for sale, we’d urge them to contact their agent or one of our buyers.”

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