Declan Cooley

Queensland's rib eye price is sky high says butcher

THE cattle shortage in Queensland is driving up the cost of beef, according to local butcher Scott Avis.

As the manager of Kin Kora Meats, Mr Avis (pictured) said he had seen a steady increase in the cost of beef in the past 12 months.

"Every week it gets worse and worse. For some things like eye fillets it takes a fair bit of effort to get in and so the meat prices go up and then they're just unreal," he said.

"With the drought there just aren't enough cattle to kill."

He said that 12 months ago a 300 gram steak would have cost between seven and eight dollars.

"Now you'd be looking at $9.60 which makes a big difference when mum comes in and is looking to buy for the whole family," he said.

"It's like gold. If there was heaps of it around you could pick it up cheaply. It's the same with beef - as soon as there's none of it around the prices go up."

Mr Avis said the announcement made by the massive meat processor and export giant Teys Australia to close its Biloela abattoir for seven weeks over Christmas would affect "every little butcher shop across Queensland".

"The main problem is the drought but it's going to continue once Teys comes back after Christmas because you're going to have every wholesaler buying off them again," Scott said.

President of AgForce - an organisation which represents rural producers - Leo Neill-Ballantine said the cattle shortage was an issue that wasn't going away any time soon.

"It's all about the supply of the cattle. Regardless of the rain there're always going to be problems with the existing conditions. Vacuums are created in the market because producers can't get assurances from the processors," he said.

"If producers were brought more into the supply chain then we could have cattle ready ahead of time."



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