EXTRA heavy lamb prices jumped to record levels this week with a line of feedlot lambs at the Corowa saleyards in New South Wales setting a new national peak of $350.
The new national lamb price record of $350 was set for 40 White Suffolk lambs from Mickan Bros. of Walla, topping the $345 achieved at Griffith saleyards in late May.
The Corowa lambs averaged 95.5kg liveweight after a 20-hour curfew. Their estimated carcase weight of 48kg and skin value of about $6 brought them out at 720c/kg cwt for buyer Thomas Foods International.
Elders rebate agent David Hill of Hill Livestock and Property said the spring drop homebred lambs had been in the Mickan feedlot since mid-March and were the tops out of a bigger consignment sent to TFI’s Tamworth plant last week at 850c/kg up to 32kg cwt and 800c/kg over that weight. About 8000 lambs are put through the feedlot annually.
“They were magnificent lambs – it was a good result, but cents per kilogram they weren’t dear.”
Elders Corowa auctioneer Steve Grantham said with trade lambs making 900-950c/kg at Corowa, the Mickan lambs were “probably the cheapest lambs I sold all day”. He said the market is being driven by lack of numbers.
“We’re expecting the shortage to hit anytime really.
“You will never turn it (the tap) off completely, but it will certainly get down to dripping stage, I would have thought.”
Mr Grantham said the new season lambs were expected to “slow” this year “with not many of them”, with “horror” stories coming out of very low lambing percentages and producers who haven’t joined at all.
“The shortage of lambs is going to come around this time next year.”
The Ballarat saleyards today also set a new Victorian lamb price record of $344 for a draft of lambs from Dean producer Andy Maher that also sold to TFI. TB White and Sons livestock manager Xavier Bourke said the Poll Dorset cross lambs were estimated at 40kg cwt with a skin value of $6. He said lamb demand was strong from major exporters TFI, Australian Lamb Company and JBS Australia, and trade lambs sold up to 900-950c/kg.
This week’s high per head prices for extra heavy lambs were a continuation of several $300-plus results at saleyards in recent weeks, including the Naracoorte saleyard’s record last week of $337 for a draft of first cross wether lambs from the James family.
After today’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker, down 3 cents to 794c/kg; Merino, up 7 cents to 788c/kg; light, up 4 cents to 796c/kg; trade, up 2 cents to 850c/kg; heavy, up 6 cents to 896c/kg. The mutton indicator fell two cents to 588c/kg.
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