BIGGER SALES: South Burnett producer Bill Steffensen has noticed more cows moving through the Kingaroy Sale Yards.
BIGGER SALES: South Burnett producer Bill Steffensen has noticed more cows moving through the Kingaroy Sale Yards. File

Slaughter of heifers at unsustainable rates

IF THE slaughter of cows and heifers does not decrease by one million each year, Australia could be out of cattle by 2022.

A report by Mecardo said female slaughter was running on a 35-year high for the past 18 months in Australia.

Currently in Australia, 4.5 million heifers and cows are slaughtered a year. A sustainable level would be 3.5 million, according to the report.

Ag Concepts and Mecardo managing director Robert Herrmann said there had been a record sell-off in the past 12 months.

"It's something we have been watching for a while. Over the last 12 months we have record sell-off driven by a tough season," Mr Herrmann said.

He said Australian producers were also responding to a record demand for beef going into the United States.

"Why that was happening was because the US had been going through a big slaughter of females that stopped herd-building programs," he said.

Mr Herrmann said the supply couldn't keep up with the demand in the US.

"That's something we need to consider here, and what it's going to mean when we get to this end of slaughter," he said.

"It must end in seven years or we will have no cattle left."

Mr Herrmann said producers would be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

He said it would be difficult for producers to buy back into the market, as heifers would be the most expensive cattle to buy.

"You have to rebuild your herd when there are record prices," Mr Herrmann said.

Mr Hermann said for the past two years the beef processing industry had been at capacity.

"Getting cattle cheap and selling at record prices, meat is still at high prices," he said.

"It's going to be a challenge in the future."

Cattle auctioneer and South Burnett producer Bill Steffensen said he had seen more cows in the sale yards recently.

"You've got to remember the unseasonable weather conditions these are. (Selling cows and heifers) is a management decision," Mr Steffensen said.

He said the lack of rain was forcing everyone's hand.

"The first thing people do is sell next year's steers and then old cows and younger cows and heifers just to survive," he said.

Mr Steffensen said producers made decisions to sell based to weather forecasts.

South Burnett

‘Stop, shop, support’: Rural town’s Christmas plea

premium_icon ‘Stop, shop, support’: Rural town’s Christmas plea

A pop-up shop is the first of many new shopping options in Proston, a community...

Goomeri Gourmet markets provide feast of free family fun

Goomeri Gourmet markets provide feast of free family fun

Pizzas, ice-cream, loaded fries and deep-fried Oreos on line-up.

Tansey dancer dreaming big for her town

premium_icon Tansey dancer dreaming big for her town

How some much-needed rain prompted this young ballerina to dream big.