$300 lambs in sight as exporters keep demand strong for heavy weights

Terry Sim, July 27, 2018

The Wagga Wagga Landmark team selling their record-priced run of extra heavy lambs yesterday.

EVEN the beef producers in New South Wales are getting in on the price bonanza for heavy lambs in the nation’s saleyards, as the record national price inches closer to $300.

At the Wagga Wagga saleyards yesterday an unnamed cattle producer with just a few ewes sold 14 Poll Dorset cross lambs through Landmark to set a new national record of $297.60, surpassing the mark of $292 achieved at Tamworth earlier in the week.

The record-priced lambs were bought by the Australian Lamb Company and were estimated to weigh 42kg carcase weight and have a $10 skin, bringing them out at less than 700c/kg dressed. The vendor also sold another 12 lambs for $282.

“Per kilogram, they (the $297.60 lambs) were some of the cheapest lambs there,” Landmark Wagga stock agent Jarrod Slattery said.

But Mr Slattery said the big story of the day was the clients with runs of 100 or more heavy lambs with carcase weights around 33kg making “upwards of” $290, generally $15 dearer than last week.

“And there would have been four or five pens on the day and that’s unbelievable, given the fact that last week our national record was $281.20 and we would have had six pens of lambs make over that yesterday.”

The big news was also what the top-end of the new season lambs is making, Mr Slattery said.

The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted sucker lambs over 24.1kg with an $11 skin making $223.60. At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the NLRS said 22.1-24 kg suckers with $8-$10 skins sold for 219-234 or 909-974c/kg cwt.

“You are talking about a lamb that is six months old,” Mr Slattery said.

The market was buoyed this week by Coles offering $8.40 for 18-25kg lambs, in an attempt to attract direct supply, but Mr Slattery said some processors were already talking about closures or winding back plants.

“The last thing we want as agents and producers is to lose another processor, because it was a sad day a few years ago when we lost Castricum Bros.

“We’ve got no control over what lambs make in the market, but it is getting to the point where it is getting dangerous for the sustainability of our processors.”

Mr Slattery said new season suckers were worth feeding on at these prices if feed was available and affordable. However, he expected there would be an oversupply of light store sucker lambs soon with little restocker demand due to the lack of available pasture.

Elders Wagga sells big run of lambs for $294

The Goldsworthy family’s $294 lambs in the Elders run at Wagga Wagga yesterday.

Another significant sale at Wagga was $294 for 125 Poll Dorset cross lambs out of Bond ewes through Elders. Elders Gundagai agent Jake Smith said the lambs came from Terry and Kay Goldsworthy of ‘Courallie’ at Junee and were estimated at 36-38kg with a $4-$5 skin. The Goldsworthy family sold another 50 lambs for $282.20, averaging $292 for 175 lambs.

Mr Smith said Terry Goldsworthy does a fantastic job with his lambs “year-in year-out” and they were finished this year on a Lucerne crop with ad-lib feeder access to a barley-lupin mix.

“We will have some heavier lambs coming next week,” Mr Smith said.

The general strength in the eastern states lamb markets is highlighted in the final Eastern States Daily Indicators published by the NLRS today. The trade lamb indicator held firm at 798c/kg, up 36 cents on last week, and 224 cents higher than last year. The heavy lamb indicator lifted three cents today to another all-time high of 845c/kg, up 45 cents on last week and 269 cents on last year. The light lamb indicator rose one cent to 690c/kg, the Merino indicator was two cents higher at 702c/kg and the restocker indice held firm on 655c/kg.


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