FEBRUARY is a pivotal time in the beef industry.
Having no control over when the skies will open, graziers are starting to make decisions on what to do with their herds.
They have to decide whether they should stock up on feed, reduce their herd numbers or de-stock.
The lack of rain which has resulted in dry country has been evident in recent weeks at the Gracemere saleyards with bigger yardings coming through the gates each week.
In just under a month the local sales saw a jump from 1000 to 3000 head of cattle on offer.
Grazier Gill Schmidt, who has attended the weekly sales for many years, yesterday said producers would have to make decisions soon.
"They will have to make a decision because feeding is costly because no one knows when it is going to rain,” he said.
"Winter rain didn't make grass and on top of that Indian couch are invading all the improved pastures and are killing them out and there's no feed on Indian couch, it's a real pest.”
Gill said the market had been coming back and he expected it to keep on coming back.
"I'm surprised at the conditions of cattle today, they are still in very good condition but Central Queensland is a very big area.”
"I think people should unload some of their stock now because the prices are still very good.
"There's only one way they will go and that will be reduced over the hooks,” he said.
"Teys only had about a weeks supply and now it's starting to go out further and there will be less buyers here and the feed lots are fairly full too.”
True Blue Livestock carrier Don Schirmer also attended the sales yesterday and said there was a "bit of uncertainty” in the industry at the moment.
"The sales are going pretty well except for the store cattle winding back,” he said.
"The meatworks cattle might be just a little cheaper but it's not too bad on the whole.”
Don, like many others, acknowledged the part rain played in boosting prices in the beef sector.
"It plays a big role, you've got to get that grass growing,” he said.
"That (rain) should help, there is still a bit of time we've got until about May for the grass to grow so that will pick the cattle up a bit more I reckon.
"People are a bit scared so they are looking to maybe de-stock a little bit and are looking to feed budget. They have got to have money to carry the other cattle through if they have to so they more or less sacrifice some of the older ones and ones that are not prime stock to more or less make money to keep the others going.”
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