Drought affects Australian cattle supply; Beef prices on the rise

australian cattle

Beef prices in Australia have surged to record highs creating concerns among cattle farmers that the supply shortage would force shoppers to seek for alternative meats. The benchmark for the price of Australian cattle, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator, came to 600 cents per kilogram meat weight for the first time.

Australia’s cattle supply is shortening as drought affected agriculturists in Queensland and New South Wales de-stock. The beef supply has not been able to meet the demand. South east Queensland farmer, Mieke Fortune, said if the rising cattle cost is reflected in supermarket racks, shoppers could be discouraged from purchasing beef and would opt for less expensive white meats.

The red meat industry is continually battling with the white meat industry, and the current situation could make things worse for cattle farmers, she said. On the other hand, Ms Fortune is hopeful about the effect the record price hike will have on the farmers. It is great times ahead in the Australian dairy cattle industry, she included.

The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator is a moving seven day weighted average of young cattle sold at sale yards in Australia’s eastern states. For cattles to be included into the marker they should be vealer or yearling cattle or calves with a body weight of between 200-600 kilograms and meet a specific fat and muscle score.

Meat retailer Susan McDonald, from Super Butchers in Brisbane, anticipates that customers will swing to less expensive cuts of beefs, instead of swap to white meat. They will opt for different cuts of meat and ensure they are getting value for their money instead of simply settling on a choice on price, Ms McDonald said.