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Heavy lambs hit new national record price of $305.20 at Wagga Wagga

Terry Sim, August 17, 2018

The H. Francis and Co team at Wagga selling Temora client Craig Miller’s lambs for $305.20.

STRONG demand for heavy export lambs has led to Wagga Wagga stock agents achieving a new Australian record of $305.20.

The new record price set yesterday broke the previous mark of $301.20 set at the Wagga Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre on August 2.

Stock agency H. Francis and Co, with auctioneer Matt Hawker selling, knocked down 50 Poll Dorset cross lambs from Temora producer Craig Miller to Fletcher International for the record price. The lambs had been finished on grain and were estimated at 38kg cwt with a $12 skin.

H. Francis and Co agent Tim Francis said Craig’s 87 year-old father Charlie has been dealing with the agency since 1962 and sold lambs two weeks ago for $285.20.

“I rang Charlie yesterday and told him he had broken the Australian record, they made $305.20 and he said ‘oh goodness.

“They weighed up to 85kg live, but they averaged 78kg,” he said.

“They were bloody good, they were heavy, they were calendar lambs, that’s how good they were.”

Mr Francis said quality had dropped off in the saleyards, but producers who had grain-fed lambs were getting paid for it. He said 26kg cwt new season lambs with $15 skins made up to $239. Mr Croker said prices did dip for a few weeks, but then recovered, and falling supply was maintaining prices.

“When you are yarding 24,000 lambs it has got to stay like that.

“We’ve gone from yarding 36,000 lambs a fortnight ago to 24,000 – we are running out of good lambs,” he said.

“There are plenty of plain lambs coming, the yards are full of them.”

Processors are not expected to continue to pay the current prices, with some butchers dropping their lamb orders because they can’t sell them at the current prices.

Auctioneer Matt Hawker said he expected the Miller lambs to make $300 or more.

“The boys definitely wanted them.”

He said prices plateaued for a few weeks around quality.

“Yesterday the buyers just wanted weight, it didn’t matter what they looked like.”

Mr Hawker said there were a few pens of new season lambs in Wagga around 24-25kg cwt, with most 18-21kg cwt.

“With grain at the price it is, they need to get this sort of money.”

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