Ag balance battle

Limestone Coast livestock producers are facing the challenge of balancing high stock prices while battling increasing input costs.

Mount Gambier Combined Agents chairman Andrew Whan said while livestock prices around the region were high, so were the “astronomically” rising input costs for producers which paired with supply issues were proving detrimental to the economy.

Mr Whan said the double whammy of conflict in Ukraine and COVID-19 had caused an abundance of extra costs and supply issues.

He said all major transport companies had upped their costs due to the mounting price of fuel and fertiliser had almost doubled in price.

Mr Whan said the price of cattle had not been directly affected as better-quality animals at the recent livestock sale were going for as high as $4.05 per kilogram.

These prices have been steady for the last 20 months contributing to record numbers every month in the Mount Gambier Saleyards monthly store sales.

Mr Whan said producers were absorbing the additional costs but it was dependent on how long the current prices remained.

“If the price drops and costs continue to rise producers will stop spending because they will not be making money,” he said.

“They will not be able to invest in farm equipment such as a new tractor, shed or cattle yards which affects the economy.

“Everyone’s costs in the agriculture industry have gone through the roof whether is sheep, cattle, dairy or cropping so if this continues it will certainly effect the business in the long run.”

Mr Whan said while the livestock was not as good quality as was recorded six weeks ago, the price had remained steady due to lack of supply.

“The buyers are finding cattle hard to source because numbers drop here at this time of year but they are dropping off quicker due to larger quantities of livestock being sold earlier amid high prices,” he said.

“Producers sold their cattle in August and September last year at lighter weights then they normally would because of the high price whereas those cattle would usually hang around until Christmas.”

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