Lamb prices “in uncharted territory”
Despite the crippling impact of drought, the lamb market is thriving.
Shortage of supply, influenced by weather conditions, the well-publicised drought and other factors, has seen 2018 lamb prices hit a record height, adding to what has been a massive season.
The shortage of quality stock means lambs are dearer and prices have simply continued to soar. “Lamb prices have been fantastic, they’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations this year,”
Farmers and livestock agencies who attend the Corowa Saleyards each Monday have noticed a significant increase in lamb prices.
Greg Aplin MP-
Member for Albury Is available for interviews
Please contact: 02 6021 3042 email@example.com
Paull and Schollard’s Tim Robinson told The Free Press.
“Obviously with well covered records that have been broken week after week and cracking the 300 dollar mark on several occasions throughout NSW, it’s in uncharted territory really.
“I think the local producers in the area need to be congratulated on being able to provide quality every year, I think that it’s the market … there’s less of the quality but the quality is no different to what it is any other year.”
The Livestock Sales Consultant said while there has been an influx of lambs from the Riverina being sent to selling centres in Victoria, he hasn’t noticed farmers from the north come to the local area.
To depict the issue and the effect that drought can have at livestock exchanges, of the 40,000 lambs and sheep yarded in Bendigo on Monday, August 6 – of which all found a new home – it meant that more than half of the yard would be moving from drought-affected NSW to more ideal healthy locations interstate.
This has been a common occurrence since NSW farmers have been struggling with the effects of minimal rainfall. People are able to take advantage of the opportunities to get into lambs earlier than expected.
State records have been thoroughly tested lately. In Cowra on Friday, August 17, a pen of 83 suckers was purchased for $250 per head, while the Griffith saleyards saw a pen of suckers bought for $260 later that same day. That was the third-consecutive week of Cowra seeing record-breaking prices.
AuctionsPlus Commercial Operator Ed Murphy admitted noticing a shortage of supply in his data, saying that it’s all very supplydriven at the moment and there’s a concern of a shortage moving forward.
“What we’re seeing online mostly is a lot of offerings out of NSW and store lambs coming onto the market a bit earlier than usual due to the season,” Mr Murphy told The Free Press.
“These lighter lambs coming on the market a bit earlier than usual … we’re not sure what’ll happen moving forward but there is definitely the demand there online and good prices.
“They’re a bit lighter and coming on earlier than usual which is pretty disappointing for NSW farmers, but they’ve got to do it, just got to have fewer mouths to feed.
“At the moment it’s pretty much holding on for them keeping their ewes alive and that means turning the lambs off a bit earlier than they usually would at that sort of mid 20s instead of 30 kilo mark.”
According to AuctionsPlus, some of southern NSW and surrounding regions offered 5,473 head last week, of which 3,080 will be travelling across the southern border as they were popularly bought out of southern Victoria.
One lot of 350 NSM border leicester/merino ewes from Thallon, QLD, were purchased out of Spence, SA, and will travel 1,600km.
Mulwala’s Greenshields lamb producer Ryan Donavan, who buys in and sells at the Corowa market, says it’s a good time to be in the industry.
“It always has been, and now it definitely is,” he told The Free Press.
Although not breaking records himself, Mr Donovan is seeing at times a 40-50 dollar increase for his lambs compared to this time last year.
“Prices right now are very solid for anything quality, there could still be a good future in it I think,” he said.
“Anything of quality is becoming sought after which is why you’ve got the high prices, and anything no quality – there’s a lot of it coming into the market place because people are offloading. As soon as you come off the quality, dollars are pretty ordinary, still good, but a bit more ordinary, and that’s just due to supply and demand.
“It’s more about the people who have invested in the expensive fodder that have been rewarded by the higher prices, because they’ve been able to finish their lambs better.
“It’s good to see that that’s occurring because they’ve put themselves out there to buy that expensive fodder and they’re getting results back.”
Mr Donovan is the owner of popular lamb shop ‘Lambtastic’ on Melbourne Street, Mulwala, and said he is sustaining the price hike.
“We haven’t jacked up prices in the shop with the jacked up prices in the market place, we’ve been sustaining, making sure we can still supply at a reasonable price to consumers,” he said.
Richard Wynne from Paull and Schollard maintained that Corowa’s record prices are all about the quality, with the average run of the norm last year seeing lambs being sold for roughly $120 compared to 2018’s $160.
Below is a table comparing the past two years, displaying some of Corowa’s top results in select months at the market:
Paul and Schollard Auctioneer Tim Robinson says farmers have being selling their lambs for record prices in 2018.