Home' Smart Farmer : March 2012 Contents March 2012
you do need to make sure you've got
someone you get along with," he said.
While some might prefer to go out
and buy the best machinery, Mr Ellis
says using contractors, borrowing or
hiring is a better, more cost-effective
Buying machinery should come
later, when landholders have a clearer
Abattoirs geared towards small-area
farmers provide kill and cut-up ser-
vices for the personal use of produc-
ers, or to supply niche markets.
Prime Valley Pastoral abattoir at
Two Wells provides a meat processing
service for small-area farmers across
The company's managing director
Shaun Frederick says the abattoir
processes lamb, sheep and goats for
personal consumption and niche mar-
ket requirements. While the company
did not buy meat directly, it was able
to point producers in the direction of
its strong customer network.
"Dealing with customers directly
lowers costs and boosts the money in
the pocket of suppliers," he said.
"We help farmers value-add and
diversify their business, and expand
the reach of their product.
"They are able to determine what
the customer wants and grow the ani-
mal that suits that market."
Mr Frederick said growing meat for
personal consumption saved money,
and reduced a producer's environ-
"We have recently upgraded our
processing plant and provide a service
processing animals to a farmer's
requirements," he said. "The benefits
of this personal approach on a small
scale was the cost-saving to the pro-
ducer and gave a better understand-
ing of his product.
"The farmer is able to get an under-
standing of what type of animal he is
producing and what markets it suits,"
Mr Frederick said.
The company started processing
Spear Creek Saltbush Dorper, Port
Augusta, and helped expand its prod-
The Spear Creek brand is now
widely recognised and supplies
butchers locally and those in Adelaide
He said the goat market was devel-
oping in Australia -- particularly in the
eastern states -- and his company had
helped local goat growers send their
product interstate to Melbourne.
Mr Frederick said the breeds offered
for processing were "wide and varied".
Goats and fat-tail sheep were ideal
for the small-scale farmer to earn an
But Mr Frederick warned against
"rushing out and buying lots of ani-
mals instead of testing out a breed
first to make sure it suited".
"And beware of overstocking, which
can lead to increased costs," he said.
Some producers say the Square Meater breed has proven easier to maintain
during dry seasons.
By ALISTAIR LAWSON
RY conditions across the
Upper and Lower South East
and Adelaide Hills have
meant large numbers of livestock
traded through saleyards, in some
cases putting a damper on prices.
With feed costs increasing as a
result, there are a number of agents
concerned about what lies ahead for
But there have been glimpses of
At the last Strathalbyn feature cat-
tle sale for February, the presence of
one extra feedlot buyer was enough
to push prices up by as much as
$70, with steers making $810 and
Elders Strathalbyn livestock man-
ager Darrell Sims said there had
been a marked improvement, with
the market for well-bred feeder
steers improving dramatically.
"Cattle that have got plenty of fin-
ish and condition have seen a
greater demand in the marketplace,"
"It also looks like there is greater
demand for cows, which might be
because of the wet conditions in
New South Wales and Queensland
Prices a kilogram for lighter cattle
have remained fairly steady during
the past few months, but because of
the lack of feed there has not been
the same condition in them that
there was last year, giving the small-
er producer an opportunity to put
together some small lines of cattle.
At the Mount Pleasant sheep and
cattle market, Landmark Anderson
& Fawcett's Colin Fawcett said there
had been a general easing right
across the board in line with other
markets, which he put down to the
seasonal conditions forcing a lot of
livestock through the saleyards.
Prices for sheep and cattle, however,
remained at reasonable levels -- but
it was in stark contrast to last year.
"(Then) buyers were screaming
for lambs and couldn't get enough,"
Mr Anderson said.
"I think there could be a struggle
for numbers coming April, May and
June and we may see a slight
improvement, but that also depends
on what happens on the world mar-
He expected interest in cattle to
pick up in the coming months.
"They will find a level as well and
now there is probably a little bit
more interest out there," Mr
"We are hoping there will be
renewed interest from the weaner
buyers, but it depends on what the
The lack of feed available has seen
store buyers themselves drying up,
according to Prostock Mount
Compass manager Kym Endersby.
He said cattle had been back by an
average of 10 cents a kilogram
across all types.
Most recently, bulls were making
$1.20 a kilogram to $1.40/kg, beef
cows $1.20-$1.40/kg, Friesians $1-
$1.30/kg, heavy steers $1.50-
$1.70-$1.90/kg, feeder steers $1.85-
$2.10/kg and feeder heifers $1.80-
$2/kg, while trade calves lifted
slightly to $2/kg-$2.40/kg.
"A bit more rain over the next few
months would be good to get prices
going again," Kym said.
"We are advising our clients to
hold on to their cattle if they can
keep their condition without incur-
ring too much cost."
Prices for sheep and cattle are still at reasonable levels, but they are in stark
contrast to last year.
Dry spell hits prices
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Dorper Shedding Sheep Information Day
Mt Pleasant Showgrounds
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