What is going on with beef prices?
You may have noticed that prices have gone through the roof for some of the more popular beef cuts. Unfortunately, this is not going to change any time soon. Please allow me to shed some light on why beef pricing is so crazy right now.
There are several factors at play here. The first being the huge drought that ravaged northern Victoria and NSW in 2018/19. During the drought, many farmers were forced to let go of their livestock as they didn't have the grass to feed them. After that, we were hit by COVID and unprecedented levels of meat demand as panic buying roared through the entire nation—further depleting nationwide meat inventory levels.
Since winter 2020, the drought has broken. There have been widespread rains throughout many of the drought affected areas which is great news for our farmers. With rain, comes hope and optimism. There is lots of feed around and farmers are feeling inspired to increase their cattle numbers again. For this to happen though, the farmers need to hold on to their cattle for breeding. This widespread desire to increase herd sizes means that the demand at the sale yards for young cattle is unprecedented. From what I have learned in conversations with my industry contacts, this cycle could last quite a while but it's a necessary stage in the agricultural cycle which will sure-up quality and supply for 2021.
- Sam Canning