Beef prices to remain steady at checkout

While the value of Australian cattle has plummeted in recent times, consumers won't notice the difference at the checkout.

The high Australian dollar, drought conditions up north and a flailing live export market have seen the price of Australian cattle drop significantly, with many farmers experiencing excess livestock settling for drastically reduced prices.

According to Good Food, the ideal price for a steer is $500, but struggling cattle owners in Queensland are selling drought-affected cattle for as little as $20 a head.

Despite a record 308,000 tonnes of beef being exported to overseas buyers eager to snap up a bargain, domestic retail prices are expected to hold steady.

Chief economist at Meat and Livestock Australia, Tim McRae, said "There is a backlog of beef in the Australian market, so price changes won't be happening.

"Also, the consumers want good quality beef, a different standard to the cattle bred for export."

Dean Smith, a meat rader at wholesaler Murray Valley agrees, saying if there will be any price cuts they'll be restricted to lower quality beef.

"In Sydney, the bottom end of the market is softening but the top level, premium end will remain firm,'' he said.


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