Lamb price record set at $354.20 as carcase rates jump

Terry Sim June 21, 2019

AUSTRALIAN lamb prices reached all-times heights on per head and carcase weight bases in saleyards yesterday as domestic and export processors battled for waning winter supplies.

In New South Wales at the Wagga Wagga saleyards, Poll Dorset cross lambs sold for a new national record price of $354.20, continuing the run of weekly price peaks for extra heavy lines paid by exporters.

Landmark Wagga auctioneer Peter Cabot sold the record-priced lambs for Goulburn producers Joe and Julie Mooney to Dubbo processor Fletcher International Exports.

The lambs out of composite mothers were estimated to average over 95kg full with an estimated carcase weight of 47kg and a skin value of $6 which brings them out at about 740c/kg cwt.

“They were the biggest lambs I’ve ever seen and it’s going to be a big lamb to get round them.”

Mr Cabot said trade lambs were also dear at Wagga, selling mostly over 900c/kg.

The increases in lamb prices at Wagga and other saleyards yesterday also contributed to record levels in the major Eastern States Daily Indicators for trade and export lambs. The trade lamb indicator finished the day up 12 cents on 885c/kg, exceeding by 1 cent the previous ESTLI peak of 884c/kg in late August last year. The export indicator also closed up 12 cents, on 926c/kg, well above the previous peak of 917c/kg of September last year.

The high prices also seem to be flushing more lambs off farms and out of feedlots with the National Livestock Reporting Service reporting Wagga agents yarding 35,000, 4000 more than last week. The agents yarded 12,700 sheep, 5700 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was exceptional over trade and heavy lamb categories at Wagga, with most lambs grain fed or off crop. There were reduced supplies of lighter weight lambs with a fair percentage selling to processors.

Restocker and feedlot buying activity was erratic with buyers cautious over teeth issues. Competition for trade lambs ramped up significantly, with major domestic processors dominating over all well finished types.

The NLRS said processors paid premium prices for well finished shorter skinned lambs which helped contribute to the dearer trend of $8-$15. Heavy trade 22-24kg made up the bulk of the offering making $220-$241/head to average 954c/kg. Merino trade lambs sold to a larger group of buyers and all categories sold to solid competition to average 827c/kg. Lambs to restock and feed made from $136-$185.

The NLRS said there was an almost full field of export buyers along with some domestic processor competition at Wagga. Generally heavy lambs 24-26kg sold $11 dearer to make $232-$258.

Extra heavy lamb prices momentum as the sale progressed and most of the offering sold from $248-$354.20 to average 909-937c/kg cwt.

Heavy crossbred ewes sold up to $248, averaging 618c/kg. There were more heavy wethers and the bare shorn supplementary-fed portion sold to $250 and averaged 731c/kg. Trade sheep were keenly sought by all processors who paid $108-$164, or 567-642c/kg cwt. Light sheep sold from $100-$130/head to averaging 574c/kg.


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