Widespread, record rainfall for many regions across the eastern seaboard underpinned the cattle market in March. The historically high prices were sustained for most stock categories, with only a selected few easing from February. However, looking back on this time a year ago, when rain first began falling for many regions, prices are on average 28% higher.
As 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered for the Covid-19 disruptions to normal life, for rural communities, the rapid transformation in seasonal conditions throughout the year has been a very pleasant change, especially in the southern states. For NSW cattle producers, frequent and widespread rainfall since autumn has rejuvenated spirits, with resurgent restocking demand boosting prices across all categories.
Over the course of 2020, we have seen the store market rise to new highs for both sheep and cattle. The combination of low supply and high demand created what is described as the ‘perfect storm’, resulting in record prices at the beginning of the year. For the cattle market, intense competition between restockers and processors has sustained the high prices.
The 2019-2020 financial year has taken the cattle and sheep market on a rollercoaster ride from extreme lows to exciting highs. Last year, no one could have imagined where the market would be in just 12 months. Rain seemed a distant dream as the drought tightened its grip over much of the eastern seaboard, contributing to a catastrophic fire season.
We’re only five months into the calendar year but “unprecedented” is already the odds-on favourite for 2020’s most overused word. However, it seems to be the best and only adjective to describe the concurrence of current economic and global events.