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Australian cattle prices on the rise amid herd decline

Sustained drought in the northern states of Australia has caused a squeeze on cattle supply.

Meat prices in Australia are set to rise on the back of declining herd numbers and increased Asian demand, according to Meat & Livestock Australia, the marketing, research and development firm for the livestock sector in Australia.

Australia’s cattle herd fell 8.8 percent in the first six months of the year to 26.7 million head due to severe drought conditions in Northern Australia and numbers have been close to their lowest in over twenty years, according to MLA’s cattle industry projections 2014 report.

And this creates a potential for cattle prices to increase by as much as 40 percent on the average prices during the first half of 2014 with beef cattle leading the charge, predicted MLA.

Exports to Asian markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam are encouraging these movements as East Asian markets were the majority importers of Australian cattle during the first half of the year. And the proportion of cattle exported is set to increase as domestic use is set to fall around 4.5 percent in favour of international buyers, according to the report.