Lamb prices soar

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rod­ney Woods

Sa­le­yards across north­ern Vic­to­ria and the south­ern Rive­rina are see­ing lamb prices reach record highs as a lack of heavy lambs pushes up prices.

Elders Yar­ra­wonga live­stock agent Scott Parker said the rea­son for the high prices was sim­ply be­cause of sup­ply and de­mand.

‘‘In the sa­le­yards, it’s the old sup­ply and de­mand,’’ Mr Parker said.

‘‘Def­i­nitely we thought the mar­ket was go­ing to be strong with sup­ply and de­mand but the amount it has been go­ing up, there doesn’t seem to be a ceil­ing.’’

Mr Parker said when the sucker lambs be­came avail­able, prices could drop.

‘‘I think as the sucker sea­son ramps up, prices might soften,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s not much weight around so any­thing with weight could stay strong.’’

Across the re­gion, records have been bro­ken at sev­eral sa­le­yards, in­clud­ing Deniliquin, Finley and Bendigo.

A record price of $278.60/head was achieved at the Deniliquin sheep sale on July 24, with Deniliquin farmer Jane Cald­well’s first- and sec­ond-cross lambs at­tract­ing hot bid­ding due to their weight.

Miss Cald­well said Land­mark agent Marc Bray­bon es­ti­mated they were close to 40 kg.

Mr Bray­bon said lambs with that kind of weight were hard to come by due to the cli­matic con­di­tions.

And while those con­di­tions are ex­pected to con­tinue, Mr Bray­bon be­lieves prices will now start to plateau.

‘‘Heavy lambs are in short sup­ply be­cause it is so dry, and there’s not a lot of feed around,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s no lamb-fat­ten­ing feed be­tween here (Deniliquin) and the Queens­land bor­der, so there’s no sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing go­ing on.

‘‘I think we have hit the thresh­old though, and I don’t think the prices will get too much higher.’’

Miss Cald­well said her top-priced pen of first- and sec­ond-cross mixed sex lambs had been fed on na­tive grasses and lucerne.

She said her other slightly younger, lighter weight lambs that had been sup­ple­men­tary fed ac­tu­ally made less at the same sale, sell­ing for $228.

At Finley, the record price of $270/head for 18 White Suf­folk lambs, was reached among a yard­ing of more than 9000 lambs and sheep on July 24.

Not only was the record price for lambs achieved, the sale’s yard­ing was one of its high­est in years and re­sulted in a record gross sale value of $1.5 mil­lion.

The south­ern Rive­rina was not the only area reach­ing these highs, with Bendigo’s good qual­ity slaugh­ter lambs in­creas­ing by $10 to $25/head and ex­tra heavy ex­port lambs sell­ing from $260 to a new Bendigo record of $278/head.

These re­sults are hav­ing ma­jor im­pacts on the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indi­ca­tor with it reach­ing 845¢/kg car­case weight (cwt) as of July 27 for heavy lambs, 45¢/kg higher than the pre­vi­ous week’s re­sult.

Records tum­ble . . . Ven­dor Jane Cald­well and Land­mark Deniliquin live­stock agent Marc Bray­bon stand in the pen of 22 lambs that sold for a record $278.60/head at Deniliquin last week.

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