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Australia’s livestock producers could face restocking issues as coronavirus closes borders

25 March 2020

As Australia closes borders and moves into lockdown, farmers face an uphill battle to keep producing food.

According to ABC news, Australia’s cattle herd has reached a nearly 30 year low. Extended droughts, bush fires and floods have decimated the nation’s supply of livestock. Rebuilding those numbers will be difficult.

In their report, ABC notes that many farmers are carrying large debts and others have sold their breeding animals and have to restart their breeding programmes from scratch. With livestock prices hitting record levels, Coonamble livestock agent Tony Mooy said many farmers were wondering if they should even try.

“The livestock is very dear at the moment…it’s just a bit hard to decide which way to jump,” he said.
The current market forecast from Meat and Livestock Australia is that the cattle herd will decline a further 5.8 percent year-on-year by the end of June 2020. This would be a cumulative fall of 12.4 percent since June 2018.

The shortage is expected to impact the processing sector as well.

Adult cattle slaughter is expected to fall 15 percent year-on-year to 7.2 million head in 2020 and to 7.1 million head in 2021. However, analysis indicates that Australia’s domestic market will still be well stocked.

Read the full story here.


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