CQ graziers reach vital decision-making point

WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE: Gill Schmidt from Jambin.
WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE: Gill Schmidt from Jambin. Allan Reinikka RRW170217agillsch

WORKING in an industry where your pay cheque relies on the weather means even the best-laid plans may never come together.

Gill Schmidt knows that pain and has lived through all kinds of seasons during his 52 years in Biloela, but he still says he has never seen the area so dry.

The grazier runs about 300 head of cattle at Jambin and fattens for the MSA trade, with his cattle going to Teys and Biloela.

Cattle for sale at Gracemere Saleyards.
Cattle for sale at Gracemere Saleyards. Allan Reinikka RRW170217acqlx2

He is a droughties and brangus man, and is concerned with the lack of rain in the region of late and the impact it is having on the Gracemere Saleyards.

The dry country has been evident in recent weeks at the saleyards, with bigger yardings coming through the gates each week.

Mr Schmidt said last year's winter rain didn't make grass and now indian couch grass was invading all the improved pastures and killing them out, leaving no feed.

Add to this the increased price of hay and unpredictability of when it will rain and the result is price fluctuations and surplus cattle in the saleyards.

Now graziers have to decide whether they should stock up on feed, reduce their herd numbers or destock.

Gracemere Saleyards.
Gracemere Saleyards. Allan Reinikka RRW170217acqlx5

Mr Schmidt, who has attended the weekly sales for many years, said producers would have to make their decision soon.

"I just want to check the market, how it's going, because I buy periodically and I won't be buying until I unload some because we're drought-stricken, we're really dry,” he said.

"There's going to be an influx of cattle in the next month or two unless there's rain.

"Some will be completely destocking because the price of hay has increased considerably and is getting scarcer.

"They will have to make a decision soon as to whether they will feed or destock or reduce stock, otherwise feeding is costly because no one knows when it is going to rain.”

Mr Schmidt said despite the weather, the market had been doing okay and he expected it to keep on coming back.

Gracemere Saleyards.
Gracemere Saleyards. Allan Reinikka RRW170217acqlx1

"I'm surprised at the conditions of cattle today,” he said.

"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 week's supply and now it's starting to go out further and there will be less buyers here - and the feedlots are fairly full, too.”


CQLX agents offered a yarding of 2570 head at the Gracemere sale, a reduction of 1030 head on last sale.

Topics:  cattle sales central queensland dry conditions gracemere saleyards graziers

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