Griffith saleyard sets new national lamb price record of $345

Terry Sim, May 31, 2019

Mark Flagg Livestock clients Shaun, Noel and Jodie Hoskinson, Bundoona, Kikoira, with their $345 lambs at Griffith. Image: Mark Flagg Livestock.

A NEW national lamb price of $345 was set at Griffith today as benchmark indicators for heavy and trade carcase weight values peaked three months earlier than previous historical levels last year.

At the Griffith saleyards today, the Mark Flagg Livestock and Property agency sold 82 Poll Dorset from the feedlot of central west New South Wales producers N.G. and J.M. Hoskinson, ‘Bundoona’, Kikoira.

Auctioneer Mark Flagg sold the lambs to Fletcher International Exports. The lambs’ pre-sale liveweight average was 92kg, giving them an estimated carcase weight of 42kg and a cwt value of about 800c/kg, assuming a skin value of $7.

Mr Flagg said he sold 9-10 pens for more than $300, including 285 lambs from various clients for $315-$345 today, mostly lot-fed Poll Dorset cross lines out of first cross ewes.

“They were outstanding, they were proper lambs.”

Noel Hoskinson said the lamb price was unexpected, but “very good”.

“We were very happy with that.”

He gave the credit for the record price lambs to his son Shaun and said the lamb cheque would help keep the family’s first cross and Merino ewe flock going. They have March-April drop lambs on the ground, but insufficient rain for good pasture growth.

“The lambs have eaten a lot of grain – we’ve been feeding wheat, oats and lupins into them and a bit of hay.

“It’s a vicious circle isn’t it? You get a bit and it just goes around and around,” he said.

Other crossbred ewes would be dropping lambs in July and August, so any ewes that scan dry would be sold into the mutton market, Mr Hoskinson said.

“We’ve got plenty of service water, it’s just that nothing has grown, the feed is only just coming up and getting going.

“This next months are going to tell.”

The Griffith result exceeded by $1 the previous nation record price of $344 set at the Dubbo saleyards for extra heavy lambs on September 3 last year. It also comes after the eastern states trade and heavy lamb indicator on Thursday reached record levels three months earlier. The ESTLI yesterday rose 9 cents to 888c/kg, the figure it reach on August 31 last year. The heavy lamb indicator rose 13 cents to 925c/kg yesterday, well above the previous record level of 917c/kg achieved in September 2018.

Mr Flagg said the strength of the Griffith market was also reflected by Ungare clients Jeff and Ros Stidwill selling 136 heavy weight late autumn 2018 drop Merino lambs with $20-plus skins for $256 and a further 119 Merino hoggets with freshly broken teeth for the same price.

Wagga Wagga’s extra heavy lambs hit $337.20

The Griffith sale followed the setting of a new Victorian lamb price record of $325 at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday and $337.20 at the Wagga Wagga saleyards yesterday, equalling the centre’s record set in August last year.

Landmark Wagga livestock manager and auctioneer Peter Cabot said he sold 107 extra heavy lambs from the Sandow Farming Co to FIE for $337.20. The lambs had an estimated carcase weight of 40kg with skin value of $10, bringing them out at about 820c/kg. The price equalled the record set for a Landmark client in late August last year.

A second Sandow line of 189 lambs made $334.20 with Thomas Foods International, which also paid $320 for another 19. The 315 Sandow lambs averaged $334.40 as heavy lambs sold $10 dearer at Wagga, Mr Cabot said. Trade lambs sold up to $5 dearer and light lambs firm.

Mr Cabot said the Wagga agents yarded about 39,000 lambs plus about 12,000 sheep.

“The thing is no-one is selling them any other way (than through saleyards); we’ve got a few lambs going into contracts, but other than that no-one is taking any spot prices.”

The National Livestock Reporting Service said competition at the Wagga saleyards was led by major domestic buyers and several export companies, with heavy lambs 24-26kg cwt generally selling from $231-$260. Prices for extra heavy lambs lifted $13-$30 to average 913c/kg cwt. Restocker and feedlot competition also lifted to new levels, recording a top price of $194.

Demand was stronger from domestic processors, feedlots and restockers. Most heavy trade lambs 22-24kg gained $10, to $206-$227, averaging 940c/kg. Light and medium trade weight lambs made 897-940c/kg and Merino trade lambs sold from $154-$223. Well-bred store lambs sold from $145-$183. Shorn lambs suitable to feed on made $162-$194.

Extra heavy feedlot lambs costing $80-$100 to finish

The Sandow Farming Company’s $337.20 lambs in the Landmark lineup at the Wagga Wagga saleyards

Sandow Farming Co principal John Sandow said his mixed sex Poll Dorset cross and first cross lambs had been in the feedlot since February.

Mr Sandow said he would have put $80-$100 of costs into the lambs after buying them for $90-$100.

“I reckon there was probably about $150 profit in them.”

The Sandow family has been operating their feedlot for less than 12 months at their cropping property near Baredmedman, southeast of West Wyalong.

“We’ve got the grain, my son is on the farm and he hasn’t had anything to do with sheep.

“We haven’t had sheep since 2001 and we got back into them in July last year,” he said.

“There were (trading) opportunities there and we had land that we couldn’t crop – hill country that lent itself to a feedlot.”

The Sandows have marketed about 3000 lambs direct to abattoirs and through saleyards since starting the feedlot.

“It’s peaking earlier this year, but don’t be surprised if $350 is the number that comes, every record is made to be broken isn’t it?”

Horsham sets new Victorian lamb price record

The Rodwells Horsham team with the $325 state record price lambs

Rodwells Wimmera manager Wayne Driscoll said the agency achieved the state record price for 32 Poll Dorset and White Suffolk cross lambs from Luke and Rachel Dunn of Brimpaen, south of Horsham. The lambs were estimated at 40kg cwt with an $8 skin.

Mr Driscoll said the market was in “unknown waters” with current price levels.

“My only hope is that they can get a quid out of it still and they keep pushing forward.

“We need to understand that producers have spent a lot of money on hay and grain, and the ones who have taken them this far have probably had the greatest costs,’ he said.

He said lambs are costing producers $60-$80 to feed lambs to these weights. The Dunns have been feeding the lambs homegrown beans, currently valued at $1100 a tonne.

Extra heavy export lambs over 30kg cwt sold from $253 at Horsham, with the main run of heavy 26- 30kg crossbreds making $250-$291 and the 24-26kg types $202-$260. The NLRS said the best conditioned lambs recorded averages from 900-930c/kg and plainer runs made 800-880c/kg cwt.

At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the NLRS said most lambs sold $5-$10 dearer. Heavy lambs sold to $285, with the medium trade weights making $215-$240 to average about 930/kg. Restockers and feeders paid $112-$184 and lighter lambs sold from $38-$94.

At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange yesterday extra heavy lambs sold to a centre record of $305 through agents BR&C. Lambs generally sold $20-$40 dearer on a quality basis, with export weights making $230-$305 (820-900c/kg), trade weights $170-$257 (830-1025c/kg) and store lambs $73-$150 (800-920c/kg).


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  1. Andrew Lepley, June 4, 2019

    Obviously the nanny state doesn’t get a mention. The saleyards at Dublin in South Australia last week sold numerous pens of lambs over $300 with the tops making $336 and being out of Merino ewes not first cross ewes. Also had bare shorn Merino lambs make $302, haven’t seen that price anywhere else in Australia. Editor’s note: You must have missed this story Andrew The shorn Merino lamb price is outstanding, but I didn’t see it mentioned in the market report.

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