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AUS: Beef producers focus on better management

ABARE Media Release

24 August 1999

Beef producers focus on better management practices

'Beef producers recorded higher farm incomes in 1998-99 as a result of higher prices for beef and favorable seasonal conditions', Dr Brian Fisher, ABARE's Executive Director, said today when releasing the report Australian Beef Industry 1999.

'This increase is timely, following several years of low prices', Dr Fisher said.

Farm cash incomes for specialist beef properties are estimated to have averaged around $30 800 in 1998-99, an increase in real terms from $22 600 in 1997-98 and $16 100 in 1996-97. Despite these recent low incomes, only 14 per cent of beef producers are dissatisfied with farming as a career. Around three-quarters of beef producers believe that there is scope to increase the profitability of their farm businesses given current market prices.

'Market prices are at their highest in nominal terms since 1995 and further recovery in export markets is in prospect as Asian markets recover. The live cattle trade also offers reason for optimism as traditional markets recover and new markets open up', Dr Fisher said.

Nevertheless, beef producers face ongoing challenges in managing their physical and financial resources. 'Vegetation management remains an issue. Almost two-thirds of beef specialists in Queensland reported that pasture productivity was decreasing as a result of woody vegetation growth, with the area affected accounting for around 20 per cent of their total grazing area', Dr Fisher added.

In releasing the report, Dr Fisher acknowledged Meat and Livestock Australia's financial assistance to ABARE's farm survey program. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics

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