TIME TO RESTOCK: Auctioneer Kevin Cocciola at the Lismore Saleyards where record prices were achieved on Saturday.
TIME TO RESTOCK: Auctioneer Kevin Cocciola at the Lismore Saleyards where record prices were achieved on Saturday. Ross Kendall

Farmers’ delight at high cattle prices for grazing animals

Cattle prices for grazing animals have never been higher according to auctioneer Kevin Cocciola.

At Saturday's store auction in Lismore prices for the best cows and calves topped $2000, he said.

The mid range prices for cow and calves were $1600-$1800.

Full mouth steers (four-year olds) went from $2.96 to $3.02 a kilogram live weight.

For two-year old steers the prices were higher at $3.06 to $3.14 a live kilo he said.

A two-year old heifer fetching around $310 this time last year, went for $900 last week he said.

"The season is that good, I have never seen prices like this in the 38 years I've been an auctioneer," he said.

Cattle producers had been doing it very tough for along while uptil now, so they were due for some good prices he said.

"They have had nothing in their pockets for 10 years," he said.

"This is good for everyone, it is good for the cattle produces and for businesses in town."

The strong demand for cattle was largely driven by the weather conditions, he said.

"There is so much grass in paddocks that people need to run cattle to keep it down," he said.

Prices had been pushing up since the early to mid part of 2015 he said.

A lot of people had to run down their herds over the dry years, and now they were re-stocking he said.

The Queensland drought was also helping to push up prices.

The sale included 400 head of cattle, including roughly 100 calves. The figure is low for the monthly Store Sales at Lismore he said.

"The season is that good that numbers are starting to deplete," he said.

The Lismore Saleyards attract farmers from across the Northern Rivers, but the record numbers have been experienced across the eastern seabord.

The Eastern Young Cattle Index produced by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is sourced from sale data from 26 saleyards across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and for the first time on record hit 600¢/kg last week.

"The expectation is that cattle availability will remain tight for January, and thereafter will depend on the timeliness of follow-up rainfall," the MLA said.

Mr Cocciol said it was "impossible to predict" for how long these high prices would last.



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