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Drought graziers take advantage of record cattle prices amidst COVID-19 downturn

By Maddelin McCosker, Wednesday July 15, 2020 - 08:08 EST
ABC licensed image
Record cattle prices and a good season have left some western graziers feeling confident. - ABC licensed

While many businesses have felt the pinch from COVID-19, for some channel country graziers in western Queensland, the last couple of months have been great for business.

Record cattle prices and a good season have left Boulia Shire Mayor and grazier, Rick Britton, feeling confident, and record prices at cattle sales across the west are the cherry on top following years of drought.

"We've been very lucky with the cattle market and the season in some of the country that we have," he said.

"COVID had no impact on us whatsoever and as a beef producer … if you didn't listen to the news or watch the TV you wouldn't even know about it."

"If this is as bad as it's going to get, I'll take it any day."

A tale of two halves

But Mr Britton said not everyone in the region had been so fortunate.

"You've got to remember that we've got a shire of 61,000 [square] kilometres so you can have drought in one section and a ripper of a season in another," Councillor Britton said.

"Some of the country in Boulia has had a pretty handy season, others aren't so lucky.

"We've got one property on the eastern side of Boulia that we've had to totally destock."

A grazier's trifecta

The trifecta of a good season, good feed and record prices had not been seen in a long time for the region.

Livestock agent, Jack Brodie, said even graziers who had not been under the right cloud of rain were taking advantage of the prices.

"We've seen record prices for most categories of livestock this year and it's been a pretty light season in places," Mr Brodie said.

"We've got a few a few clients out there that are a bit light on for feed, so they took advantage early on when they realised it may be a long way to the end of the year."


© ABC 2020

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