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Dry outlook may spark cattle rethink

By Megan Woodward, Thursday November 22, 2012 - 11:16 EDT

Rural lobby group AgForce says many northern cattle producers will be reassessing their carrying capacity after the release of the weather bureau's seasonal outlook.

Northern parts of Queensland are forecast to have a 60 per cent chance of higher minimum temperatures, while lower-than-average rainfall is highly likely.

AgForce northern regional manager Paul Burke says the dry wet season will make the next few years harder again for producers.

"Things have been quite difficult in the northern beef industry I guess right back as far as the live exports issues 18 months ago," he said.

"We've certainly had a tough time of it."

He says many producers would be trying to calculate how many cattle they can afford to keep through a dry season.

"Working out how many cattle they can turn off, [it's] not an ideal time to be selling cattle," he said.

"Prices are definitely lower than what producers would like so that certainly weighs into the equation as well.

He says the hot conditions are also not at an ideal time in terms of fire.

"We've had bad fires in Hughenden and we've got bad fires in the Upper Burdekin at the moment," he said.

"All of those things weigh heavily and certainly weigh heavily on the amount of feed there's left for cattle to forage on."


- ABC

© ABC 2012

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