Beef cattle prices surge due to world shortage

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Beef cattle sales have reached record-breaking prices in Eastern Southland.

Farmlands livestock representative for Eastern Southland Allan Thompson said prices during the past few weeks had been far better than they were at the same time last year.

“They were strong last year, but this is a new level,” Mr Thompson said. “We are getting prices we haven’t seen before.”

Steer calves with a live weight of 336kg were selling for $1280 and calves with a live weight of 268kg were selling at $1135 at the Charlton calf sales, he said.

Steer calves with a live weight of 202kg were selling at $910, he said.

Heifer prices were also high, Mr Thompson said.

A heifer with a weight of 300kg was selling at $1230 and a smaller heifer with a live weight of 206kg was selling at $840.

Breeding cow prices were also very high. A two-year-old cow in-calf was selling at $1550 and cow-in-calf that was on their second or third calf was selling for $1815 at an Eastern Southland on-farm sale.

Older cows-in-calf were selling for anywhere between $1900 and $2000.

Mr Thompson attributes the high price to shortage in the market.

“There is definitely a shortage of cattle.

“Things are looking pretty good in the cattle market.”

Balfour sheep and beef farmer Geoffrey Young said there had been historically high prices for cattle in the past few weeks.

“We are definitely enjoying it,” Mr Young said.

This was due to a worldwide shortage of cattle, he said.

“There are less cattle coming out of Australia and America.”

It was a good time for beef breeders, Mr Young said.

Farmers should still be cautious though.

“It is probably not the time to jump into beef.”