WIDESPREAD rain across the state is what Livestock SA president Joe Keynes will be hoping for in 2019 to help producers make the most of stellar livestock prices.
He said sheep producers enjoyed outstanding wool and lamb returns in 2018 and beef producers also saw reasonable returns, which he was confident would continue this year.
“Drought has been the biggest challenge for much of the state other than the South East, which has had an extremely good season,” he said.
“The good thing is those that have been affected by drought have been able to sell livestock at good prices.”
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Mr Keynes says the returns for wool, sheep and lambs have been a great incentive for producers to hold onto their core breeding stock in the dry times but those who made the difficult decision to destock their herd or flock face a significant challenge buying back in when it rains.
A highlight for Livestock SA in 2018 was the productive working relationship it built with Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone and Mr Keynes is looking forward to continuing to work closely with him to ensure livestock remains a key contributor to the state’s economy.
To the pastoral area (dogs are) worse than drought – the dogs are coming through in big numbers and heading further south.
The organisation’s top priority for this year will be to secure funding to replace the ageing Dog Fence. A motion was passed at 2018 Livestock SA annual general meeting to advocate for it to be replaced within five years.
“To the pastoral area, it (wild dogs) is worse than drought – the dogs are coming through in big numbers and heading further south,” he said.
“We need the support of state and federal government, RDCs (rural development corporations) and producers are going to have to find some money to help out, I don’t know exactly how much but the sooner we deal with this the better.”
Mr Keynes said the launch of the SA Beef Industry Blueprint was another highlight for 2018, but achieving the ambitious goal of growing the $600-million beef industry by $100m a year for the coming decade would require better seasons.
Greater government investment in research, development and extension was also needed.
Livestock SA hopes to see significant numbers of livestock producers adopt the One Biosecurity on-farm biosecurity management program launched in late May.
Workshops are planned in coming months.
“We need good biosecurity to retain our export markets but we also need people on the ground and funded to appropriate levels by PIRSA,” Mr Keynes said.