Sky high de­mand for lamb, mut­ton

Tasmanian Country - - THE STOCK REPORT - Richard Bai­ley

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.

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