Sky high demand for lamb, mutton
THERE have been some big rains over the past week with many areas of the state recording 30mm to 50mm and in some cases more. There was also some cold snowy weather which I believe caused deaths of freshly shorn sheep.
The rain won’t do much for pastures south of Longford but will help the clover bottoms on the North-West Coast.
The rainfall will have been a blessing for anyone with fodder crops in. It will probably encourage more restocker competition plus it is likely to hold store lambs back from the market in the short term.
Widespread rains in Victoria and NSW will have an overall effect on lamb and cattle prices, with most of NSW receiving from 25mm to 100mm and that has already pushed store-cattle prices up.
Lamb prices don’t need much help from the rains, they are still flying along at record rates for this time of the year.
Big numbers are coming into Victorian markets with Hamilton on Monday yarding 28,360 lambs, Ballarat on Tuesday 46,105 and Hamilton on Wednesday 45,340 for a grand total of almost 120,000. At the same time, numbers at the northern Victorian markets of Bendigo and Horsham have almost halved as their early season closes.
At Hamilton on Wednesday lambs were quoted $5 to $12 per head dearer with 32 pens making more than $200 each and up to a top of $240.
Extra heavy lambs sold from $212 to $240 per head or 640c/kg to 650c/kg carcass weight, heavy trade lambs $151 to $175 or 650c/kg and exporters bought light lambs for $95 to $119 a head or 670c/kg.
While on the same subject, Auction Plus had a record number of 103,387 sheep and lambs on its screen last Tuesday – an increase of 37,312 on the previous week. I can remember many years ago when most people said the online portal would not work.
Mutton prices have also gone from strength to strength. At Ballarat on Tuesday there were 14,177 mutton penned and many mediumweight Merinos were being quoted at 500c/kg and even heavy crossbred ewes at 450c/kg carcass weight.
This means heavy ewes were making $99 to $193 with 20 pens over $170 per head, while heavy Merino wethers made $130 to $175 and mediumweight sheep $82 to $160 or 400c/kg to 560c/kg with most averaging around 500c/kg.
This is unbelievable money and although the local markets are not quite at those levels, at the northern Midland saleyards this week most sheep were making between $80 and $117 per head.
One little disrupter to Tasmanian markets between now and Christmas will be shipping schedules and abattoir closures over the festive period, which will definitely affect interstate buying trends.
I’m looking forward to some pretty buoyant markets at the start of 2018.