GRAZIERS and stock agents are still waiting for a break in the season to determine where the beef and cattle industry will head, but agents are cautiously optimistic for the year ahead.
Geaney’s Real Estate and Livestock Director Matthew Geaney said February’s weather would dictate where the market was headed.
“It’s eyes on the sky for all graziers and that’s what the talk is, whether we’re going to get a season or not,” Mr Geaney said.
“A lot of the graziers are having to plan for the year already to know where they're going, there's a lot of people still feeding cattle at the moment so the way forward is going to be a concern for them.
“Considering where we did come from the pricing in the last few years has been really good, and that’s flowed on to the stud type cattle as well, so it’s been optimistic on that side of it.
“The unfortunate thing is the weather’s been on the down side in the last few years, so it's been a struggle for a lot of people to try and really take benefit of those gains essentially with depletion of numbers on their properties.
“Others have been fortunate, it's been very patchy so they've been able to take benefit in those gains and they're going well, so it's been mixed generally
Mr Geany said good product was available those looking to buy at the 25th Big Country Brahman sale which will be held in Charters Towers on February 5 and 6.
”A lot of graziers are pushing forward with good product and Big Country has been able to offer that.
”A few will roll the dice will have to come and buy good bulls to keep going forward and others if the drought conditions are taking too much of a hold will have to step back from it.”
Elders Queensland sales manager Michael Spencer said as the area of dry land increased geographically, the volumes of cattle going to market had increased.
“Cattle is probably being sold a bit earlier at a lighter weight as a result,” Mr Spencer said.
“Because we’re in a supply and demand market, the increase in volume means we’re somewhat over supplied, which means there has been a price correction and the market has eased somewhat, about 20-25 per cent in the last eight weeks.
”The outlook is very dependent on seasonal change, which would allow people to hold their cattle thus taking pressure off as far as volume goes and allowing the price to stabalise.
”It’s not that good at the moment, the outlook would be somewhat unknown subject to rain.”
Mr Spencer said the live export trade was showing trends toward new markets, with the first shipment out of Townsville to China, while more traditional markets such as Indonesia were under pressure with customers resisting the price.
Bureau of Meteorology Townsville meteorologist Doug Fraser said there was still the potential for decent rain to develop across the north.
He said a monsoon trough was currently dumping decent rain across the Cape York Peninsula, but was unlikely to drift south.
Mr Fraser said while Cairns had received 665mm for January, above the long term monthly average of 390mm, inland parts were well below.
Mount Isa had received 8mm until January 30, compared to the long term average of 119mm, while Julia Creek had got 20mm and Hughenden 8mm.
”There has been thunderstorm activity but not a lot has been falling in those areas,” he said.
Mr Fraser said despite the late start, hope remained for the wet season.
“We’ve still got plenty of wet season to go, and there’s still a good chance of a couple of rain events before the wet season is finished.
“There’s no reason to think we're not eventually going to get a monsoon move further south and decent rain developing.”
Mr Fraser said a low forming in the Gulf or a monsoon trough moving inland was needed to bring heavier rain inland.