Mar­kets look­ing strong for lamb

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT - Richard Bai­ley

IT is in­ter­est­ing to re­flect on how times have changed.

This be­ing the week of the Royal Launce­s­ton Show week it re­minds me of my fa­ther’s words back in 1973 when I ar­rived home from Vic­to­ria. He told me that if we didn’t have our new sea­son’s lambs (he would have called them suck­ers) sold by Launce­s­ton Show time, it was too late.

In Tas­ma­nia over the past few years we have seen no real num­bers of new lambs un­til mid-Novem­ber.

When I first started re­port­ing on lamb mar­kets in the late 1980s there were many large prop­er­ties who would have big num­bers of early lambs. Places like Glen Esk, Lo­gan, For­mosa and many Mid­lands prop­er­ties would all have heaps of lambs by this time of the year.

Nowa­days there are very few early lambs from May or June. New sea­son’s lamb num­bers in north­ern Vic­to­ria and NSW come early while western Vic­to­rian pro­duc­ers are more like us and their big num­bers come in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Now to to­day’s trends. Lamb prices have con­tin­ued to av­er­age around 600c/kg in South Aus­tralia, Vic­to­ria and NSW, which is ter­rific money for lambs straight off their moth­ers.

The sea­son in many parts of NSW has been pretty av­er­age de­spite rains over the past week and as a re­sult big num­bers of light im­ma­ture lambs have been com­ing to the mar­ket to be pro­cessed for the Mid­dle East trade or go­ing back to the pad­dock.

In NSW for Septem­ber more than 50,000 lambs out of the sa­le­yards were sold to re­stock­ers, four times greater than the same month in 2016.

There are con­flict­ing ideas about where the lamb mar­ket is headed. The most pos­i­tive was in a re­port from ABARES last week that pre­dicted an av­er­age lamb price of 625c/kg for the 2017-2018 fi­nan­cial year. If this was to be ac­cu­rate, one would ex­pect good prices come au­tumn and early win­ter.

Num­bers usu­ally start to flow in western Vic­to­rian yards from the end of Oc­to­ber but ap­par­ently it is very wet, which may make it in­ter­est­ing in terms of qual­ity. Bet­ter re­cent rains through the Rive­rina may also en­cour­age re­stock­ers back into the mar­ket.

Lo­cally, rain seems to be com­mon in the North and not so in the Mid­lands and the South, par­tic­u­larly the East Coast and South-East.

This sort of sea­son in the South will mean that feed is scarce and turn­ing off lambs may need to be pre­ma­ture.

At least the money will be OK. At north­ern Mid­lands mar­kets this week re­stock­ers paid $122 to $125 for trade lambs, $102 to $120 for light trade and $62 to $96 for light and very small lambs.

There will no doubt be strong in­ter­est in well-bred store lambs as the cost of buy­ing and freight­ing from Bendigo, Hor­sham or Wagga is pro­hib­i­tive.

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