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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 28 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 Rachel Galvin, Policy Officer, Cattle Council of Australia Industry Statistics 2008 The increase is one of the largest jumps in rural confidence in the survey’s eight year history, although 60% of farmers indicated some concern that global warming would affect the future viability of their farm business, reflecting on the influence that climate change is having on producers throughout the country. The trend in annual total rainfall for the past 107 years demonstrates interesting trends of diminishing rainfall across the north eastern coastline along with the south west tip of the continent, whilst most of the country has remained within its historic average rainfall. australian annual mean rainfall (mm) since 1900 The drought has been the major factor affecting the financial performance of the australian beef industry over the past two years. Demand for australian beef cattle remained strong in asian export markets in 2005-06 and into 2006-07, which provided support for australian saleyard prices. In real terms, prices in 2005-06 were close to the best prices of the past two decades (Figure a)2. In 2006-07, australian beef cattle prices have come under pressure as slaughterings have increased by around 5 per cent. This has been caused mainly by the increased turnoff of cattle in response to the worsening drought conditions, particularly in south eastern australia. although prices are expected to weaken slightly in 2006-07, they are still relatively favorable in historical terms. The drop in average farm business profit is expected to be even larger as a result of destocking and the rundown in on-farm stocks of grain, with beef farms in south eastern australia most affected (Figure B). australian rural confidence has rebounded strongly in the past quarter as promising early summer rainfall and favourable commodity prices have fuelled farmer optimism, according to the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey1. fig a Australian beef cattle industry