Farmers hit 'retreat mode' as sale yard numbers soar
DRY conditions throughout Central Queensland are forcing graziers to offload their cattle, with yarding figures reaching up to 4000 in recent weeks.
Sale agent Joel Dawson, from Brian Dawson Auctions, was at the Gracemere Saleyards on Friday and said the dry conditions seen across parts of the state led to many graziers offloading their stock.
"A lot of the market is based on the dry conditions,” he said.
"Even though it is a bit dry around here, we're probably a bit lucky because a lot of places have got not a lot of rain.
"The condition of the cattle is sort of holding on.”
Mr Dawson said Friday's figures were expected to hit 3420, following on from 4160 last week, with younger cattle slipping.
"We are seeing a lot more cattle, especially in younger cattle, not really holding,” he said.
"Through winter they're starting to slip and being that it is a dry year, you can see the condition of the steers and they're starting to slip a little.
"But apart from that the condition of the cattle is still pretty good, considering the condition of the country.”
Geoffrey Urquhart from Canoona Station, north of Rockhampton said he was lucky to have decent conditions for his cattle at the moment.
"Yeah we're quite well. We're on the lucky side of it, there's plenty of grass,” he said.
"A lot of people to the west that I know are doing that (offloading cattle due to lack of feed).
"They've gone into retreat mode. It's not looking good from now until Christmas.
"Everyone is thinking whatever has got to go, has got to go, and there's no second chances.”
Mr Urquhart said the market to sell was strong, despite the dry conditions.
"With the magnitude of the dry weather around the countryside, the market's still doing quite strong,” he said.
"And it's all upside. If it's this strong when it's this dry, when it does rain it's going to be good.
"Beef will be gold in a few months when it rains, but we don't know when that will be.”
But, Mr Dawson said depending on the conditions, some graziers didn't always have the luxury of selling when the market was good.
"Even though the market is back a bit, when they've got to go, they've got to go,” he said.