John Collins of Gathercole’s chats with a fellow buyer at the VLE Leongatha Saleyards last Wednesday.

 

AS PRICES for prime beef, and other lesser lines of cattle, edged higher at the Koonwarra saleyards last Wednesday, April 7, veteran trade buyer John Collins had a sobering prediction for supermarket freezer browsers.
If you think prices are high now, wait until cattle get really scarce through the winter.
“Yes, the prices are high again here today, too high,” said Mr Collins a buyer for the family-owned meat processor Gathercoles, with plants at Carrum, Tatura and Wangaratta.
“When you consider the alternatives, you can buy chicken for $12kg compared with steak for $33kg, what are you going to buy.
“You’ve only got to look at how much red meat people eat each week now.
“It’s not that they don’t like it, It’s still the best meat but it’s too dear at the moment to be eaten regularly.”
But the best, or worst if you’re a buyer is yet to come.
“The supply is reasonably good at the moment but when we start to dip into the winter, there’ll be a lot less around,” he said, fearing the price would go even higher.
Mr Collins said it would be sometime before supplies from improving areas of NSW and Qld would come on line and it was a matter of keeping trading.
“More a matter of keep trying,” he said.