The feedlot industry is tipping a 25 per cent fall in the number of cattle on feed by Christmas because of high grain prices.
While attention has been on the global grain markets, domestic feed grain prices are also at record highs.
The industry says intense competition in export markets is making it tough to increase prices to meet costs.
The Lot Feeders Association's Kevin Roberts says finances are tight and there is no relief in sight for local producers.
"It has always been that whoever the highest bidder is gets the grain," he said.
"It won't be a matter of whether the domestic needs are highest or lowest, it will be whether or not the domestic market can afford to pay the highest.
"I'm suggesting to you that we certainly are not competitive with these prices as they are."