Quality bull demand surges

Nutrien divisional livestock sales coordinator - Southern Q, Colby Ede.

By Fiona Gowers

Surging domestic demand for quality bulls that smashed benchmarks across the breed spectrum in 2021 will continue through this year’s spring seedstock selling season.

Backed by a bullish commercial market, producers remained motivated to replace their herd bulls, according to Nutrien divisional livestock sales coordinator – Southern Q, Colby Ede.

He said picky breeders were becoming more discerning about the genetics infused through their herds, preferring quality over quantity, to boost productivity in their breeding programs.

“Producers are preferring one perfect bull over many imperfect bulls,” Mr Ede said.

“They are carefully fine-tuning their operations and pouring the money they’re making commercially into seedstock, which in turn is pushing up bull prices.

“Everyone is seeking improved performance. The appetite for what they want is high and they are willing to pay for it.”

Mr Ede said “time will tell” where bull sale averages settle this year.

“Overall, if we can just maintain the averages set in 2021 – a record-breaking year in Queensland across many breeds – I think we’ll be doing well,” he said.

Dalby-based GDL stud stock manager, Harvey Weyman-Jones agreed, saying he felt positive about the impending spring bull sales and predicted prices would match last year’s.

He said record rainfall along Australia’s east coast and a slipping beef market were variables “in the back of producers’ minds”.

“One consideration is the oversupply of moisture,” Mr Weyman-Jones said.

“You don’t like to complain about too much rain, of course, but we’ve had three flooding events in six months on the eastern side of Australia, which could lead to loss of cattle, loss of feed.

“The other consideration – and the other thing that may affect prices – is that the beef market has slipped 10 to 20 per cent from its peak in March.

“It (the beef market) probably did get a bit high and, if it stabilises where it is now, we would be very happy with those prices.

“But, unfortunately, I don’t have a crystal ball as to what will happen in September/ October.”

Elders stud stock manager Michael Smith, Toowoomba said early indications from sales in southern Australia were that prices would hold, if not continue to improve.

He said seasonal conditions through Queensland were “much better” than where they were this time last year, which could keep prices buoyant.

“Of course, I don’t want to talk it up too much but we are certainly comfortable where we sit now,” Mr Smith said.

“The western parts of Queensland have had a terrific Autumn break and will have an early Spring, which augurs well for confidence in the rebuilding process.”

Mr Smith said a buoyant beef market was underpinning buyers’ confidence to spend big money on quality genetics.

“The article they are buying needs to be up there and to tick all of the boxes,” he said.

“But producers are certainly more comfortable spending their money when the beef market is robust and strong.”