How things change! In February of 2014 the eastern standard indicator was $2.80/kg in February 2016 the same indicator is saying that cattle prices are exceeding the six dollar mark.
Call for celebration? Mr Joyce stands by his record of record cattle prices, on the other hand Richard Norton is sending tweets around talking about the price, and presumably what a great job the MLA has done.
For my part I am a little bit puzzled as to why the same people that are so quick to claim the credit for the six dollar breakthrough were strangely quiet in 2014 when we went down to $2.80 kilogram for cattle. Surely what comes up so quickly can come down with equal speed and if the market falls for whatever reason I can’t see Joyce and Norton taking the credit.
The processing sector could not believe their luck in 2013/14 and made the best of the situation. The fact was that processors were receiving better prices for their meat in export markets whilst paying only $2.80, which was below the cost of production for most producers. Now that they are paying, in some cases, over $5.20/kg and are receiving far less for their product than 2014/15 they are squealing. It seems that in the beef industry while one section seems to be profiting others are going broke. Is this a good way for the industry to be run? The end result could be that the multi-nationals will take over the whole processing industry destroying competition.
The indisputable fact is that you reap what you sow and everybody in the industry should realise that record lows and record highs doesn’t help anybody.
Unlike the US, Australia has no system to ensure that there is any transparency of the system. The simple fact is that the producers’ peak council, CCA, have sat back and done nothing about getting transparency up and running. Could it be possible that they have been complicit and missing in action?
As it stands now processors can stand up at a Senate inquiry and say that they have never heard or seen any evidence of collusion in saleyards. Anybody attending sales on a regular basis would know just how ridiculous these sorts of statements are.
For many years nobody has been prepared to stand up and get to the bottom of who gets what share of the retail and export meat dollar.
This is not strictly true. Parliamentary enquiries and the ACCC have had enquiries and come back with the most outlandish claims made by the supermarkets and has been accepted by the people convening these enquiries. The fact is that some information is an absolute disgrace and a blot on the people who actually accepted the information given as a true account.
Two examples spring to mind: ACCC enquiry in 2007 Coles said producers get 54% of the final retail dollar, in 2013 a parliamentary enquiry summary suggested that the producer got between half and two thirds of the retail dollar. Surely even politicians like Dick Adams would be able to see through this one (Obviously not).
In the current political climate it is interesting to watch the big processors bring in their spin doctors who can tell the Minister that they are going to lay off hundreds of people if they don’t get their way, and they will keep the doors shut till things improve.
The processors will tell you that they are making a loss of $200 for every beast they kill!? I for one would wonder if these figures are correct. As stated previously the only ones that know exactly what the processors get are the processors themselves.
It seems ironic that producers that were forced to almost give their stock away in the drought are now pushing the price of cattle up to inflated levels in order to restock and one could wonder whether these producers, who have suffered so badly, could again be hit if prices don’t stay at these high levels.
The indisputable fact is that if the producers get the sort of prices they received in 2013/14 there will simply be no industry as we know it and meat workers will not be the only ones to suffer from the greed of a few.
Solution: perhaps everybody should look at the so-called independent umpire, being the Senate, who made seven decisive recommendations which were thrown out by divisive powers in the red meat industry.